Pop-operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli says he and his family have recovered from COVID-19, and that he and his wife are donating blood plasma to scientists trying to develop a vaccine.
While the global music star, 61, had revealed in a Wall Street Journal interview that he, wife Veronica Berti and their 8-year-old daughter, Virginia, had contracted the virus in their native Italy, the plasma donation came to light Tuesday at a news conference in Pisa and in a social-media post.
"The pandemic which has shaken the world has also affected — albeit mildly — me and certain members of my family," Bocelli wrote on Facebook and Instagram Stories. "Out of respect for those for whom contracting the virus has had more serious consequences, I decided it would be best not to share the news. I certainly didn't want to unnecessarily alarm my fans and also wished to protect my family's privacy. We were fortunate enough to have a swift and full recovery by the end of March."
He added, "Given the chance to donate blood to help find a cure for Covid, my response was an immediate 'yes'. A modest — but fundamental — gesture, through which I am playing my small part."
The Cisanello Hospital in Pisa, Italy, said Tuesday that Bocelli and his wife that morning had donated plasma for clinical use in a study there. Plasma — the liquid portion of blood remaining after red and white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components have been removed — contains proteins called antibodies that fight disease. The Turin newspaper La Stampa reported at a news conference outside the hospital that Bocelli said he was diagnosed on March 10 after having had a swab test.
He additionally told journalists, "It was a tragedy, my whole family was contaminated," according to the European news syndicate Agence France-Presse. "We all had a fever — though thankfully not high ones — with sneezing and coughing." He added, "I had to cancel many concerts. ... It was like living a nightmare because I felt like I was no longer in control of things. I was hoping to wake up at any moment."
Bocelli had earlier told The Wall Street Journal that he and his wife and daughter were self-isolating at their home in the Tuscan town of Forte dei Marmi. "I was able to be with my entire family and we all got infected. We had a fever, then we were cold, and then we got a little bit of a cough," he said, adding that the family was "all together, all in harmony. We were able to speak much more than we've ever been, and I've been able to read. … And then I did some sports. I moved about a bit, because you know at my age if you don't use your muscles you can forget them. And I tried to live it in a positive way with my loved ones."
Bocelli remains scheduled to perform two Madison Square Garden concerts on Dec. 16 and 17, in addition to other U.S. shows that month.
The recording artist did not mention any COVID-19 infection in his sons Amos, 25, and Matteo, 22, with ex-wife Enrica Cenzatti.