Emmauel Alvarez Undergoes Heart Surgery

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With less than two months to go before the start of the contest season, one of last year’s most promising rookies, Emmauel Alvarez, is taking a step back from the stage in 2024 after undergoing major heart surgery.

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Alvarez, who earned his IFBB Pro Card at the 2021 North American Championships, made the announcement on his Instagram saying:

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“…I am going to be getting open heart surgery.

Why? I was born with a bicuspid valve. Most people are born with a tricuspid valve. If you’re born with a heart like mine, you will at some point need surgery to replace it. But because of my bodybuilding lifestyle, it sped up the severity of my issue it needs to be replaced now. I found out 4 years ago, I was feeling really sick and I went to the emergency to get it checked out and what they found was this heart issue. they literally told me if I didn’t stop bodybuilding, I would die.

Fast forward to now... I didn’t stop bodybuilding and thankfully I didn’t die, but I had started to feel symptoms where my memory was suffering, a lot of brain fog, extreme fatigue , my strength has declined way too much and a lot of other things that I didn’t realize were due to my heart not functioning properly.

The crazy thing is I wasn’t going get it checked until me and my gf went to a tarot card reader for fun in Sedona. she pulled a card and looked right at me and told me I had to go get my heart checked and not to ignore it. I called and made an appointment the next day. I found out it had progressed to the point that my valve is failing and I’m getting the same amount if blood to my body as a 12 year old.

I was told I had about 2 years of life left if I didn’t get the valve replaced.. that was the moment when I realized I can’t ignore my symptoms anymore and to take this really seriously.

Bodybuilding is not over for me, this is just a small bump in the road. I just want to thank you guys in advance for the support I know I’m going to get from all of you. I am going to be documenting every step of this process. I’m going to be really raw vulnerable and show every as much as I can through the recovery process.
And trust me… 2025 I’ll be back bigger and better.”

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Alvarez made a strong impression in his IFBB debut last season at the Orlando Pro, where he finished in 4th behind Phil Clahar, Hassan Mostafa, and Stam DeLongeaux – three athletes who’ve all made their mark on the Olympia stage in recent years.

Given the limitations he’s faced in training over the last four years as a result of his condition, and barring any major setbacks during the recovery process, if he can return to, or potentially exceed, his peak form at some point over the next 12-18 months, he’ll have the potential to bring his journey full circle by becoming one of the best comeback stories of the 2025 contest season.

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