Selena Gomez fans finally got an answer as to why their favorite musician was kind of MIA all summer: It turns out the singer—who has been very open about her autoimmune disease, lupus, in the past—underwent a kidney transplant.
In a recent Instagram post, Gomez revealed that her friend, fellow actress Francia Raisa, donated a kidney. In the caption, she communicated gratitude to her extremely generous friend, noting that the surgery will improve her health while battling lupus.
“I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my lupus and was recovering [this past summer]. It was what I needed to do for my overall health.”
“I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So, I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health,” Gomez wrote. “I honestly look forward to sharing my journey with you through these past several months. Until then, I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend, Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much, sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made.”
Lupus affects 1.5 million people in the United States, but unfortunately the cause is unknown, reports Cleveland Clinic. And, that doesn’t make the condition—an autoimmune disease that can attack just about any part of your body at any time—easy to treat. There are periods when it flares and periods when it eases off, and when active, it can be debilitating: Those suffering from it often feel worn down and tired.
Lupus causes issues within the immune system, which explains why Gomez needed a new kidney: The disease often attacks certain organs, leading to life-threatening situations.
Lupus causes issues within the immune system, which explains why Gomez needed a new kidney: The disease often attacks certain organs, leading to life-threatening situations. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus nephritis occurs when the disease causes inflammation of the kidneys, making it impossible for the organs to remove waste from the blood or control the amount of fluid in the body, as they’re supposed to.
Due to the abnormal levels of waste, lupus nephritis can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and even end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which requires either the use of a machine to filter the body’s waste or a kidney transplant. Because of Gomez’s surgery, she’ll likely have at least one kidney that functions properly, as it’s rare for lupus to affect the new organ, says the National Kidney Foundation.
Living with an autoimmune disease of any kind is a struggle, but hopefully this procedure will have Gomez feeling like herself—the stylish self-care guru—again soon.