Singer and actor Robert Goulet is heavily sedated and breathing through a ventilator while awaiting a lung transplant in a Los Angeles hospital.
Speaking on October 23 to the Associated Press, his wife Vera said "He can hear me but he can't respond." She said doctors told her that lung transplants carry an 88 percent success rate, the highest of any transplant procedure. A suitable donor has yet to be found for the 73-year-old crooner.
"God willing, if we proceed with this, our doctors feel that there's no reason he will not have at least 15 years of life doing what he does, going back on stage and singing," she said. "That's very encouraging."
Goulet fell ill while flying home to Las Vegas after performing a September 20 concert in Syracuse, New York, his wife said. Doctors initially assumed it was a minor ailment, but he got progressively weaker and was rushed to the hospital 10 days later.
The singer was diagnosed with a form of pulmonary fibrosis which his web site describes as a "rapidly progressive and fatal condition." He was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on October 13 as a transplant patient.
Speaking by phone from the hospital, Vera Goulet said doctors inserted a breathing tube down her husband's throat and sedated him. They were last able to speak to each other two weeks ago. "He said 'Just give me a new pair of lungs and I'll hit the high notes until I'm 100,'" she said.
October 17 marked the couple's 25th wedding anniversary. Vera Goulet said fans and performers have been calling and e-mailing from around the world, including comedian Jerry Lewis, actress Suzanne Somers, and singer Harry Connick Jr. Born to French-Canadian parents in Lawrence, Mass., Robert Goulet made his Broadway debut portraying Sir Lancelot in the 1960 production of the musical Camelot.
His multiple appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show helped make him a star. He won a 1962 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and a 1968 Tony Award for his role in The Happy Time.
Over the years, Goulet continued to perform onstage. Vera Goulet said her husband's illness forced the cancellation of planned performances in Denver and a commercial TV shoot.