Sept. 14 (UPI) — Selena Gomez secretly underwent a kidney transplant over the summer due to her battle with lupus.
The 25-year-old singer and actress said in an Instagram post Thursday that her friend Francia Raisa donated a kidney after she required a transplant for her 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,” Gomez wrote. “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.”
“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. 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,” she said.
“And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa,” the star added. ” She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”
Gomez shared a slideshow of photos, including one of her and Raisa holding hands from their hospital beds. She initially went public with her lupus diagnosis in an interview with Billboard published in October 2015.
“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about,” the star said of her hiatus from the spotlight in 2015. “I could’ve had a stroke.”
“I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re [expletive].’ I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again,” she explained.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues. The disease causes inflammation and a number of other symptoms, which can include fatigue, swollen joints and depression.