The American Idol winner Phillip Phillips dazzled viewers all season long, despite battling chronic kidney problems – and having eight separate surgeries – since the competition began, his father told PEOPLE Wednesday after an eventful finale.
“He’s been doing [well], but it’s just grueling hours and it’s just amazing what he’s done through the journey,” said the singer’s dad, also named Phillip Phillips, at the show’s official Ford-sponsored after party. “Eight operations since we started American Idol … He’s hitting 50 percent, but he’s still up there swinging away.”
The younger Phillips, 21, suffered with a build up of kidney stones and underwent multiple operations to remove them. In the next few weeks, after another surgery to reconstruct his kidneys, he is expected to make a full recovery in time for the Idols Live tour.
“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.”
The singer himself told reporters Wednesday that the problems were a struggle but that he had the support to get through them.
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