Demi Lovato on Pal Selena Gomez’s Kidney Transplant: ‘She Is a Very Strong Woman’

 people.com  9/16/2017 2:27:51 PM   Mariah Haas

Demi Lovato couldn’t be more proud of friend Selena Gomez for soldiering through her kidney transplant.

“I think that she is a very strong woman,” Lovato told PEOPLE exclusively Friday evening following a private performance in downtown Los Angeles for her Spotify superfans to celebrate the launch of her upcoming album, Tell Me You Love Me.  

“I’m very happy and proud of her,” added the “Sorry Not Sorry” ingers, 25, who first met Gomez when they were children on Barney & Friends and became close friends when they both had shows on the Disney Channel during their teen years.

RELATED VIDEO: Meet Francia Raisa, Selena Gomez’s Actress BFF Who Gave Her a Kidney

On Thursday, Gomez revealed on social media that the reason she quietly stepped back from her career over the summer was because she was recovering from a kidney transplant.

“I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of,” Gomez, 25, captioned the Instagram post. “So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health.”

The “Hands to Myself” singer — who revealed in October 2015 that she was diagnosed with lupus and was undergoing chemotherapy for the autoimmune disease at the time — also shared that the donor was her longtime friend Francia Raisa, an actress best known for her role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

“There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa,” Gomez wrote alongside a photo of the friends holding hands from their hospital beds as well as photos of her stomach following the surgery.

Jason Merritt/Getty

“She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed,” added Gomez. “I love you so much sis.”

On Friday, Raisa’s mom shared that both her daughter and Gomez are “doing great” since the transplant — and Raisa has returned to work.

“She’s actually filming a TV show that’s called Grown-ish, and she’s just going about her normal life,” Almendarez said during an interview with Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo.

“Thank God they’re both doing great,” she continued. “Thankfully the kidney was compatible and that everything came out perfectly.”

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