Drake White Reveals He Has AVM, a Debilitating Brain Condition, After Nearly Collapsing Onstage

Drake White Reveals He Has AVM, a Debilitating Brain Condition, After Nearly Collapsing Onstage

arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in the brain that disrupts normal blood flow.’ data-reactid=”12″>While the incident shocked many, it came just as the “Livin’ the Dream” singer, 35, was finally ready to reveal a secret health battle he’s faced for months now: In January he was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in the brain that disrupts normal blood flow.

“It was basically stealing blood from my brain,” White told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview in July, just weeks before his onstage scare. “The neurologist told me that I should be thankful it was caught in time, because it could have caused a stroke.”

Since then, he’s been undergoing a series of embolization procedures to cut off blood flow to the affected vessels — the last just four days before he came close to collapsing. Though it is still unclear if his near-fall was directly related to that procedure or his condition, the musician had already decided that it was time to share the details of the grueling medical journey he’s been on since the beginning of the year.

“I’m not telling this story for me,” White told PEOPLE last month. “Someone needs to hear it and God wants me to share it. It will help people believe in miracles, and I will feel that energy. The world needs that kind of energy right now.”

Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church and Kip Moore throughout the years. “Nobody could tell me what was wrong.”’ data-reactid=”40″>“The true nightmare is having something wrong with you and not knowing what it is,” admitted White, who — along with his band The Big Fire — has toured with artists including Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church and Kip Moore throughout the years. “Nobody could tell me what was wrong.”

Dr. Robert Mericle at Centennial Hospital in Nashville “running a catheter through my femoral arteries all the way up to the back of my head to glue the AVM shut.”’ data-reactid=”67″>A series of embolization procedures were scheduled. White described the crucial operations as neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Mericle at Centennial Hospital in Nashville “running a catheter through my femoral arteries all the way up to the back of my head to glue the AVM shut.”

Now, eight months and four embolizations later — the most recent taking place on Aug. 12, four days before his near-collapse — White told PEOPLE that Dr. Mericle is confident that they have “knocked out 75% of the mass.”

“He has to space them out due to my brain being used to the amount of blood flow for 35 years,” White explained, adding that he hoped to be AVM-free by the end of 2019. “If he had embolized the whole mass in one surgery, it would cause major problems with my mobility and maybe a stroke.”

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