Selena Gomez has paid a sweet tribute to the friend who gave her the “ultimate gift and sacrifice” by donating one of her kidneys.
The singer took to her Instagram page to reveal that she had had a kidney transplant over the summer. She shared a photo of herself in a hospital bed while holding the hand of her best friend, Francia Raisa, who donated the organ to the star.
“There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend,” she wrote.
“I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”
The singer wrote that she needed a new kidney as a side effect of suffering from Lupus, a disease which affects the body’s immune system.
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She addressed the speculation from her fans as to why she hadn’t been seen promoting her new music over the past few months, writing that she had been “laying low” due to the operation and was therefore unable to be as active as usual, despite being “extremely proud” of the new songs.
“I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering,” she wrote to her 126 million followers.
“It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you.”
She also shared two other photos in the post, one of which showed her surgical star (below).
The singer revealed she had Lupus last year, when she opened up about experiencing panic attacks, depression, and anxiety as a side effect of the disease.
“As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have Lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways,” she said. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of Lupus, which can present their own challenges.”
She continued: “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off.
“Thank you to all my fans for your support. You know how special you are to me, but I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues.”
In the Instagram post, which has already racked up over 3.5 million likes (at the time of writing), the singer also took the opportunity to raise awareness about the disease, described by the NHS as “a complex and poorly understood condition”.
“Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made,” she wrote.
The post struck a chord with many of Gomez’s followers, with over 77,000 Instagram users taking to the page to write messages of support.
“You're so strong and I'm so proud of you,” wrote one user.
“Thanks for being open about the struggles of Lupus,” wrote another. “We need more understanding of this disease and I think exposure is the key.”
Gomez rounded off the post with a link to the Lupus Research Alliance site, which provides information and support to anyone who has the disease or knows someone who suffers from it.
“For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ - by grace through faith,” she wrote.
Images: Rex Features / Instagram