Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Gloria Gaynor Admits Thinking She Was ‘Going to Die’ after Having a High-Risk Spine Surgery

Joe Akins
Jun 07, 2019
02:33 P.M.
Share this pen

Gloria Gaynor opened up about the time she thought she would die after high-risk spine surgery, and in the process, she took a trip down memory lane.


Gloria Gaynor lived in pain for over forty years after she suffered a spinal injury. Things turned around last year after she underwent a high-risk spinal surgery, twice.


Although the surgery was successful, Gaynor told "People" that she thought she would not make it out alive. After the first procedure, she ended in the ICU and her doctor — Dr. Hooman M.Melamed — had to wait five days before taking her back to the operating table.

Melamed said he had to break the singer's spine and reconstruct it. He described it as a rare and complex procedure that required a lot of precision.

Gaynor's pain started in 1978 after she fell over a monitor during rehearsals at the Beacon Theater in New York. She recalled waking up in the hospital the morning after the accident to find out she could not move her legs.


The singer told the news outlet that she was terrified, and it began a series of surgeries to fix her back. The first surgery took out her ruptured discs but the then-doctors put together her vertebrae, and she got to walk again.

During that time, the future looked bleak, and the singer got a lifeline with the song "I Will Survive." Gaynor said she believed God destined her to sing the song.


In 1997, the singer underwent another surgery to correct her spinal stenosis, and afterward, she could not walk straight. Gaynor lived off medications and had to sleep on the chair sometimes.

In 2017, the pain got worse, the disco legend ended up on Malamed's operating table, and the rest is history. Gaynor's "I Will Survive" was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fakaris; the latter wrote most of the lyrics, as well as other songs for the singer.


It topped the charts in the US and the UK, and it put the singer on the world stage. Although many saw it as a female-empowerment song, Fakaris said he wrote it as an encouragement to himself after he got fired as a songwriter by Motown, and it became a beacon of hope for those facing challenges.

Gaynor is living her life pain-free, and for the first time in two decades, she can walk straight and plans to dance during her summer tour.