Stevie Wonder has a living kidney donor. Here's what that means.

Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Entertainment News

DETROIT -- Stevie Wonder announced during a concert Saturday in London that he'll have a kidney transplant in September.

That means after his surgery, his fans will likely have to wait at least until the new year to see him perform live again, said Dr. Jason Denny, director of the Center for Living Donation at Henry Ford Health System and the director of living kidney transplant.

"I would expect that in Stevie's case, that he will not be doing concerts for at least a few months after surgery, assuming everything goes well," said Denny, who spoke to the Free Press on Monday about the general protocol for kidney transplant recipients.

"The immune system will be low; the lowest it will be is right after surgery. So you don't want him in large crowds because of the illnesses the crowds have.

"An example I give to patients is that it's like when you bring a new baby home. You could have family see the baby, but not everybody can be in the baby's face all the time."

The legendary Motown performer was hospitalized in the spring and has been traveling to his performances with a medical team ever since. He told fans Saturday that he already has an organ donor lined up.


Wonder, 69, is among 15% of U.S. adults who are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And when the Grammy Award winner receives his organ transplant, he'll join the roughly 21,000 Americans who have kidney transplants every year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit organization that contracts with the federal government to manage the U.S. organ transplant system.

The Free Press asked Denny to answer some questions about kidney disease and how the transplantation process works.

Question: What do the kidneys do? And how do you identify kidney disease?


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