The first patient with Carmat's artificial heart has died after surviving more than two months

Schematic of Carmat's artificial heart--Courtesy of Carmat

France's Carmat has another major milestone to report regarding its artificial heart. The first patient implanted with the device has died after surviving for 74 days.

Bloomberg reported that the 76-year-old man passed away, and that the company honored both the patient and his family for their courage and status as pioneers.

But why did the man die? It's too early to say, Carmat said in its statement to Bloomberg. Still, the event was momentous enough that Carmat requested that its stock suspend trading in Paris (it was).

On Dec. 23, the first day after Carmat announced the Dec. 18 implant, traders drove the stock 27% higher to early $178.80 in early trading. That stock surge continued into the new year as the man rallied. As of early January, he was reportedly in "very satisfactory" condition," eating normally and socializing with his family while recovering at Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris.

The company is hardly giving up. As Bloomberg noted, Carmat will test its implant in a few other patient volunteers this year who are suffering from heart failure and have no other therapeutic alternative. The device is made partially with bovine tissue, which Carmat believes can help avoid issues with clotting that have limited the success of artificial hearts in the past. It's also designed to last for a fairly long period--about 5 years--and is powered by an externally worn battery.

Carmat said that its device, if approved, could expand the market for artificial hearts from 4,000 patients to 125,000 patients annually.

- read the Bloomberg story