George Lopez's Kidney Swap

Comic actor undergoes successful kidney transplant; donor is wife Ann; both expected to recover

By Charlie Amter Apr 26, 2005 2:20 AMTags

George Lopez has received the ultimate gift from his wife, Ann: one of her kidneys.

The comedian underwent a successful kidney transplant last week, his publicist, Marleah Leslie, announced in a brief statement Monday. The organ was donated by Ann Lopez, his wife of 12 years.

George Lopez, 44, suffered from a genetic disorder that caused his kidney to deteriorate, his publicist said without elaboration.

He and his wife are recuperating at their Los Angeles home, according to Leslie. Both are doing well and expected to fully recover.

No further details were disclosed.

Sandra Bullock, a friend of Lopez and producer of his eponymous ABC sitcom, said, "The love and respect I have for Ann and George has doubled knowing how they have struggled with this quietly for the past several years. I'm relieved that they are now on their way to recovery."

Lopez had given no public indication that he was ailing, maintaining a vigorous schedule in recent weeks.

On Apr. 17, he served as grand marshal for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, becoming the first person to say, "Gentleman, start your engines" in Spanish at a NASCAR event.

The previous week, the California-born funnyman told the New York Daily News that he expected his sitcom to be reupped for a fourth season despite mediocre ratings, and he was planning to take a more hands-on approach in 2005-06.

"We've already gotten the unofficial word," he said. "I don't see the show not being on the air."

George Lopez, which has already wrapped for the season, bowed in 2002. This season it has been averaging 7.6 million viewers a week opposite Fox ratings powerhouse American Idol.

Lopez repaid Bullock last month for her dogged support of the series (she has guest-starred on the sitcom twice and frequently plugs the show during late-night talk-show appearances), turning up for the unveiling of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Mar. 24.

Four days later, he appeared in a different venue--the Santa Maria, California, courthouse--to testify in Michael Jackson's child-molestation trial.

Lopez testified he met Jackson's accuser at a comedy camp for underprivileged children in 1999. When the child became ill with cancer in 2000, Lopez said he helped out the family with small donations--$40 or $50, here and there. Soon, Lopez said, the boy's father became "pretty aggressive" about the funds.

"It seemed to me at that time that [the father] was more interested in money than he was about his son," Lopez said.

Lopez is expected to be well enough to hit the publicity circuit for his upcoming movie project, Dimension Films' The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D. The Robert Rodriguez-helmed feature is due in theaters June 10.