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    Toni Braxton Reveals Life-Threatening Illness

    Toni Braxton John Shearer/WireImage.com

    Toni Braxton has been having a tough time of it—and no one knew just how tough it's been.

    The singer revealed today at a luncheon benefiting lupus awareness and research that she too is battling the potentially deadly autoimmune disease.

    "Take a look, this is what lupus looks like," Braxton said to a surprised audience as she accepted one of two Women in Achievement awards at the 8th Annual bag Ladies Luncheon. (Rachel Zoe received the other one.)

    Lady Gaga spoke up earlier this year about testing "borderline positive" for lupus, which has affected other members of her family. She bought ad space for Braxton in the event program, writing the message, "Toni, your strength is admirable. As a woman whose family has been affected by lupus, I understand your struggle and have you in my thoughts. —Gaga."

    Sadly, Braxton is no stranger to health problems. The American Heart Association spokeswoman also suffers from pericarditis, an inflammation of the heart lining that has left her prone to high blood pressure and heart palpitations and has interfered with her performance schedule over the years.

    She also had what luckily turned out to be a benign tumor removed from her breast shortly after her run on Dancing With the Stars in 2008.

    Reporting by Cristina Gibson

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