It was impressive enough that Phillip Phillips skated to the season 11 crown on "American Idol" without ever landing in the bottom three, or enduring much negative criticism from the judges. But following his coronation on Wednesday it was revealed that the 21-year-old Georgia pawn shop worker had eight different surgeries during his run on "Idol" to deal with chronic kidney problems.
The emotional singer's dad, also named Phillip Phillips, told People magazine, "He's been doing [well], but it's just grueling hours and it's just amazing what he's done through the journey ... Eight operations since we started 'American Idol' ... He's hitting 50 percent, but he's still up there swinging away."
The "Idol" champ, who was briefly hospitalized during his run, has a recurring build-up of kidney stones and the surgeries during the show were to remove them. But when he goes under the knife in the next few weeks he will have to have his kidneys reconstructed. The magazine said he is expected to recover in time to join his fellow top 10 singers on the "Idol" tour when it kicks off on July 6 in Detroit.
"The recovery's probably two to four weeks," said his father. "He's healthy, he's good. His kidneys are good. I can't wait for America and the whole world to see him [after his surgery], because he's a big cut-up. He's going to have some fun."
Speaking to reporters, Phillips said it was a difficult ride during the show -- he was allowed to sit out the weekly Ford videos in order to rest -- but he was helped by his team of physicians. "I'm going to get some surgery done, so I'm going to get all better for the tour," he said. "It was very tough [getting through the season]. I had great doctors and great people surrounding me [who] really helped out, so it's just a blessing to be here."
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