Selena Gomez shared an emotional social media post on Thursday, writing that her best friend gave her "the ultimate gift."
The 25-year-old, who had noticeably limited her public appearances over the past few months, revealed that she needed a kidney transplant as a result of her longtime battle with lupus -- an incurable and difficult to diagnose autoimmune disease.
“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,” she captioned the Instagram post. “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.”
The “Hands to Myself” singer went on to thank her doctors as well as her incredibly generous bestie -- Francia Raisa, an actress best known for her role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
“There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa,” she wrote. “She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”
The powerful message was shared alongside a trio of photos -- one that featured an image of her and Raisa holding hands and smiling as they lay in adjacent hospital beds and two others that showed her stomach following the surgery.
In August 2016, Selena announced that she would be taking career break after suffering from “anxiety, panic attacks and depression” due to her lupus diagnosis.
"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 in a statement to People. "I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges."
“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,” she continued. “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.”
She then took time to encourage others similarly struggling to be brave.
“I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues,” she said.
Her efforts to bring the disease into the spotlight have previously been praised by the Lupus Research Alliance.
Co-President of the group said it was “not commonly known that depression, anxiety and panic attacks can be side effects of lupus. We are so proud of Selena for taking care of herself and bringing awareness to this sometimes very misunderstood illness."
Selena, we wish you a very speedy recovery and thank you for sharing your story.
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