Reported September 28, 2003
Wheeler Undergoes Kidney Transplant
Ken “Flex” Wheeler, who announced his retirement from bodybuilding a few months back due to a congenital kidney disease, had kidney transplant surgery on September 16 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. The donor, said Wheeler, is a member of his Church who wished to remain anonymous.
A day after the operation, Wheeler, 38, had to have another procedure to remove a blood clot in his leg, but seemed to be on the road to recovery when I spoke with him on the phone several days after the surgeries. When I called the hospital on September 28 for an update, I was told Wheeler had checked out of the facility. Wheeler, who lived in Rowland Heights, a suburb east of Los Angeles, the past few years, moved to Northern California several months ago.
Wheeler suffered from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which involves scar tissue in the kidneys; the medical community cannot pinpoint the cause of the disease but it is more prevalent in African Americans than in any other group. It is not caused, experts say, by anabolic drug usage.
Wheeler hopes to recuperate in time to be at the All-Star Seminar the day following the Mr. Olympia contest, on October 26 at Gold’s Gym (11 a.m., Flamingo and Sandhill). Wheeler will join Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, Lee Priest and Richard Jones at the annual affair; this year Ray will present a check for $10,000 to the winner of the “Best Presentation” from the Mr. Olympia contest. For more information on the event, go to www.shawnray.net.
Wheeler also plans to be at the Grand Opening of the Max Muscle store he (and business partner Robin Chang) recently purchased on Monday, October 27. The store is located at 259 S. Hampton Way, Venice, CA 90291.