Freddy Fender Needs Liver, Kidney

ByABC News

C O R P U S  C H R I S T I, Texas, Nov. 21, 2000 -- Grammy Awardwinning country singer Freddy Fender has hepatitis C and needsliver and kidney transplants, a spokesman said.

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

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

Hopeful, Reflective

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

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

Hepatitis C, which kills about 10,000 people in the UnitedStates annually, can be contracted through direct contact withthe blood of infected persons like sharing needles ortransfusion with infected blood (before 1990). It istransmitted sexually in rare instances.

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

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