Country singer Drake White concerned fans last Friday when about fifteen minutes into his set in Roanoke, Virginia he began to stumble before his bandmate caught him as he collapsed to the ground.
Now, the 35-year-old, is revealing a secret health battle that he’s been facing since the beginning of the year. In January, White was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which is an abnormal tangle of veins and arteries in the brain that disrupt normal blood flow.
“It was basically stealing blood from my brain,” White told PEOPLE. “The neurologist told me that I should be thankful it was caught in time, because it could have caused a stroke.”
Since his diagnosis he has been undergoing many procedures to cut off the blood flow to affected vessels, with his latest procedure coming just four days before his onstage collapse.
“I’m not telling this story for me,” White continued. “Someone needs to hear it and God wants me to share it. It will help people believe in miracles, and I will feel that energy. The world needs that kind of energy right now.”
The singer added that his road to diagnosis began last winter when he developed a headache that wouldn’t go away. “That morning, I had worked out and went to a lunch meeting, and that’s when the headache started,” White recalled. “By 2 p.m. I was in bed seeing spots in my left eye, and that’s when my left side started going numb. I tried to sleep it off but woke up with the same intense headache.”
White and his wife decided it was best for him to go to the emergency room and said at first, “Nobody could tell me what was wrong.”
After going through several tests, doctors finally had an answer for him, he had AVM. “The next thing I know, there is a guy walking in with the word ‘neurologist’ on his nameplate. He told me, ‘You have a mass in the back of your head. It’s treatable, but it’s going to take a while.’ It was at that moment Alex and I said to each other that whatever it is, we would battle through it. Our faith went into overdrive.”
After four embolization procedures, White said his doctor is confident they have “knocked out 75% of the mass.”
“My attitude is better. From the moment I found out, I refused to see it as a problem. Rather, I chose to let it inspire me and help others. I have to think I’ve been going through all of this for a reason,” White said. “Everyone is going through something. You have to treat every person like it could be their last day. Not to be all sunshine and rainbows, but all of this made me appreciate all that I have and all that is to come.”