In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack, an event that surprised the public in view of his high level of fitness as an athlete. His condition drew attention to the hereditary aspect of heart disease. Ashe underwent a quadruple bypass operation, performed by Dr. John Hutchinson on December 13, 1979.
A few months after the operation, Ashe was on the verge of making his return to professional tennis. However, during a family trip in Cairo, Egypt, he developed chest pain while running. Ashe stopped running and returned to see physician and close friend Douglas Stein, who had accompanied the family on the trip. Stein urged Ashe to return to New York City so he could be close to his cardiologist and surgeon.
Ashe was promoting heart health after his heart attack.In 1983, Ashe underwent a second round of heart surgery to correct the bypass surgery he received back in 1979.
In 1988, Ashe fell ill and discovered he had contracted HIV during the blood transfusions he had received during his second heart surgery, which ultimately led to his death.
He and his wife kept his illness private until April 8, 1992, when reports that the newspaper USA Today was about to publish a story about his health condition because of his increasingly gaunt physical appearance forced him to make a public announcement that he had the disease.
In the last year of his life, Ashe did much to call attention to AIDS sufferers worldwide. Two months before his death, he founded the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health to help address issues of inadequate health care delivery and was named Sports Illustrated magazine’s Sportsman of the Year.
He also spent much of the last years of his life writing his memoir Days of Grace, finishing the manuscript less than a week before his death. Ashe died from AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6, 1993.
From world over, he received letters 4m his fans, one of which conveyed:
“Why does GOD hav 2 select u for such a bad disease”?
To this Arthur Ashe replied:
” All over The world, 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis,
500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit,
5000 reach the grand slam,
50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals,
when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD ‘Why me ?’.
And today in pain I should not be asking GOD ‘Why me ?’
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrow keeps you Human,
Failure keeps you humble !!!
and Success keeps you glowing……!!!
But only Faith & Attitude Keeps you going. . . . . . . .
Remember Gratitude has the word attitude in it !!!
Gratitude is a form of self-expression that must be shared. We cannot have an attitude of gratitude without having an object of that gratitude.