A heart for Salvador: Sobral undergoes successful transplant surgery in Lisbon


For months his fans have waited for news about his pending heart transplant, sending their best wishes to the Eurovision 2017 winner.

And today their prayers were finally answered with the very good news that Salvador Sobral received his new heart during a procedure on Friday.

Televisão Independente (TVI) — Portugal’s most-watched television network — broke the news on Saturday during an afternoon news bulletin.

According to TVI, “the intervention went well and Salvador Sobral is now hospitalised in the intensive care unit.”

“The 27-year-old artist suffers from advanced heart failure and has been waiting for a compatible donor for several months.”

During a press conference, held at 18:00 at the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental (West Lisbon Hospital Centre), one of the doctors praised Salvador’s patience and courage, saying that he was “alright”, while another said that he was “very cheerful” following the procedure.

Ahead of the operation Salvador requested that doctors play classical music — presumably to help calm any nerves he may have had.

Heart transplants are incredibly sensitive procedures. Waiting lists for donor hearts are long, and after the procedure the body that receives the new heart must accept it.

As the United Kingdom’s NHS explains, complications can follow the procedure and over time the body may reject it. However, there is reason to be optimistic. A number of studies have found that nearly 90% of heart transplants are successful (when measured one year after surgery).

On September 9, the “Amar pelos dois” singer officially stepped away from the limelight, giving an emotional farewell concert ahead of his temporary career hiatus.

Performing at the Jardins do Casino Estoril, as part of the International Festival of Culture, the quirky star sang his most beloved songs, including “Excuse Me”, “Change” and “Nada Que Esperar”.

Later that month he entered Lisbon’s Santa Cruz Hospital where he was under the observation of a skilled team of doctors who specialise in heart-related issues.

It came after a life-changing few months for the jazz singer. During Festival da Canção earlier this spring, Salvador had to cope with his ongoing medical situation and endless rumours speculating about the exact nature of his condition.

As hype built about his song and his odds of winning, the singer had to simultaneously deal with his personal issues while in an ever-brighter public spotlight.

Owing to doctor’s orders, he was not allowed to travel to Eurovision for the entire fortnight of rehearsals and shows. Instead, he dispatched his sister and composer Luisa to rehearse in his place. Moments after the announcement that she would rehearse in his place, Luisa spoke with wiwibloggs about the situation in Lisbon (video above).

Team Sobral pressed on, delivering beautiful staging that won over millions of televoters and the professional jury at Eurovision.

Following his landmark victory, the limelight grew more intense. With sell-out concerts across the country and an ever-larger profile, Salvador was eventually forced to discuss his health more publicly when he announced his decision to go on a temporary career hiatus to focus on his health.

His announcement came in a YouTube video entitled “Hello, Até já” (Hello, See you soon).

“It is no longer a secret to anyone that my health is fragile,” he said in the video, while seated at a piano.

“I have a problem. Unfortunately, the time has come to give my body to science and consequently to remove myself from the life of concerts and music in general. Get out a bit of this world of civilians and go to another, where surely this problem will be solved. Unfortunately, I do not know how long it will take.”

“I’ll be back soon — how soon I do not not know.”

With today’s news, he’s moved a little bit closer.