Freddy Fender Needs Liver, Kidney

Grammy Award winning country singer Freddy Fender has hepatitis C and needs liver and kidney transplants, a spokesman said.

Fender, whose hits include “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” was diagnosed with the disease and resulting kidney failure Wednesday, said publicist Kirt Webster.

“His liver is only working at 10 percent,” Webster said Monday. “His liver is so damaged he has also experienced kidney problems.”

Hopeful, Reflective

Fender, 63, a native of San Benito, Texas, has begun dialysis treatments while he begins what is, on average, a two-year wait for a new liver. For medical reasons, he must have the liver transplant before getting another kidney, Webster said.

“He says he’s lived a great life and we’re very hopeful they’ll find a match,” Webster said.

Hepatitis C, which kills about 10,000 people in the United States annually, can be contracted through direct contact with the blood of infected persons like sharing needles or transfusion with infected blood (before 1990). It is transmitted sexually in rare instances.

Webster said Fender, whose real name is Baldemar Huerta, would continue performing while awaiting the transplants.