June 10, 2019 08:04 PM
Doctors removed David Ortiz's gallbladder and part of his intestine after the beloved former Boston Red Sox slugger known as Big Papi was ambushed by a gunman at a bar in his native Dominican Republic, a spokesman said Monday.
Leo López said that the retired athlete's liver was also damaged and that he was in stable condition in intensive care. He said Ortiz will be flown to Boston once his condition improves.
Ortiz, 43, is one of the most popular figures in sports history in the Dominican Republic and Boston, a fearsome power hitter with a ready smile. He led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All-Star and hit 541 home runs.
Dozens of fans crowded the hospital in Santo Domingo where Ortiz was being treated, causing a traffic jam. In the U.S., fans prayed for his recovery.
"He's a great friend to the city of Boston," Sheila Kieran said.
New England Patriots star Julian Edelman joined the throngs of pro sports figures who took to social media to wish Ortiz well, assuring him on Instagram: "Papi, all of New England has your back."
Ortiz was at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo on Sunday night when a gunman approached from behind and shot him at close range, said National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte.
Barack Obama tweeted about the incident Monday morning
Six years ago, David Ortiz's spirit and resolve helped us all begin to heal from the Boston Marathon bombing. Today, I want to join many others in wishing him a speedy recovery of his own. Get well soon, Papi. pic.twitter.com/9orpBgnVI5— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 10, 2019
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The gunman was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, and police were waiting for him to undergo treatment for his injuries before questioning him, authorities said. Investigators said they were trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target.
Ortiz's father, Leo, told reporters he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.
"He is resting," the elder Ortiz said. "Big Papi will be around for a long time."
Ortiz started his career playing for the Minnesota Twins under former manager Tom Kelly. Kelly told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he's praying for a quick and complete recovery.
"What we hear is that's he's going to be ok and make a recovery," Kelly said. "It's scary no question, gets your attention. So you say a prayer and hopefully everything goes good because he means so much to a lot of people."
The Associated Press
Updated: June 10, 2019 08:04 PM
Created: June 09, 2019 10:15 PM
(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)