On Thursday, the singer recalled to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” about how a trip to the doctor’s office with her husband, country music star Vince Gill, led her to identify a genetic heart condition that she has dealt with for a decade.
“I had an irregular heartbeat for the last 10 years, and it exhibited every day,” the 59-year-old explained. “It bothered me a little bit and then I’ve had a harder time singing in the last five years … everything kind of tightening up as I was trying to sing.”
But she didn't make the connection.
“I remember a couple of times telling Vince, ‘I feel like I’m suffocating,’” she continued. “It’s the weirdest thing, I’m breathing as deep as I can, but in my mind, none of that had to do with my heart.”
According to the outlet, when Gill had a routine visit to the doctor for his own preventative tests in late 2019, Gill’s cardiologist, Dr. John Bright Cage, asked Grant how she was doing. While the star insisted she was “fine,” she was encouraged to undergo tests. Those revealed a birth defect called partial anomalous pulmonary venous return, or a PAPVR, which improperly circulates blood through the chambers of the heart.
The artist was told she needed surgery before turning 60.
“They were doing an ultrasound of my heart and the doctor came in,” Grant said. “He said, ‘Vince, this is the kind of situation where Amy would be fine, fine, fine and then one day it would be catastrophic.’ And we don’t know when that would be, but it would have to be sooner rather than later.”
Grant admitted she was shocked by the revelation. However, she was also grateful Cage was able to detect it before it really was too late.
“I just think sometimes in all of our jobs, we have what we’re trained for, and then beyond that, there’s an intuition and inspiration,” she said. “And I think Dr. Cage did everything that was required for testing for what he thought might be an issue for me because my father had [heart bypass] surgery, but beyond that, I don’t [know].”
“I am so grateful,” said Grant.
Grant underwent open-heart surgery in June. She has since been recovering and described healing as a “miraculous” process. Today, she is “more energized than ever” and thankful to be given the gift of another day.
Now, Grant hopes her story will encourage fans not to ignore any warning signs they might be feeling.
“If I have got something wrong, anybody could have something wrong,” she said. “My message would be, take a minute and take care of yourself. You don’t know that something is wrong unless you make sure it’s right.”
Grant is also grateful she has received love and support from those all over the world, especially on social media.
“We are a community,” she said. “Even in times of isolate, we still have an impact on each other and we can have an incredible impact for good.”
Grant said she hopes the surgery will help resolve the previous struggles she endured while singing and is eager to perform again when the time is right.
“I’ll sing to the day I die,” she said. “Music … that changes everything. Music takes any manual task and suddenly you’ve got a soundtrack and you’re in the movie of your own life and the sun is shining and music changes everything.”
Grant, who has been married to Gill, 63, for 20 years, is a six-time Grammy winner with well-known crossover pop hits like “Baby, Baby,” “Every Heartbeat” and “That’s What Love is For.” She’s sold more than 30 million albums, including her five-time platinum 1991 record “Heart in Motion,” that introduced her to a larger pop audience.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.