NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is recovering in the hospital after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery on Thursday, April 16, UCLA Health System revealed in a press release on Friday, April 17.
The release was issued at the request of the 19-time All-Star pick, who was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center earlier this week with cardiovascular disease. According to the statement, the operation was performed by UCLA chief of cardiac surgery Dr. Richard Shemin, who "expects Abdul-Jabbar to make a full recovery."
"At this time, Abdul-Jabbar would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received. He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon," the release read. "He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest."
Abdul-Jabbar — who turned 68 on the very day he had the surgery — is the NBA's all-time leading scorer and a beloved member of the Hall of Fame. Since retiring in 1989 after a 20-year career, the six-time world champion has worked as a special assistant for teams including the Lakers and Clippers. He has also authored several books and guest-starred on various TV shows.
Back in 2009, the athlete revealed he'd been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia the previous year. He battled back, though, and said in 2011 that while "you're never really cancer-free," his disease was "at an absolute minimum" and "not life-threatening."
Per UCLA's statement on Friday, Abdul-Jabbar will not be releasing any additional information about his condition. "For those wanting to send well wishes," the press release said, "he thanks you in advance and asks that you support those in your own community who may be suffering from various health issues."