LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Former University of Kentucky head basketball coach Billy Gillispie is recovering from successful kidney transplant surgery.

Gillispie underwent the surgery Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

The kidney donor, Ericka Downey, is the wife of a basketball coach at a small college in Oklahoma. The two had never met, when she heard his story, prayed for guidance and decided to volunteer as a living donor. 

"I'm so grateful for what Ericka is doing," Gillispie said. "I want to make sure she's great, that's my biggest concern."

Downey said she knew it was the right thing to do. "We're a family in the basketball world, and that's what we do, we take care of each other," Downey said.

Gillispie admits he neglected his health for years and ignored warning signs that something was wrong, but he says he now finds peace.

"I consider myself to be the luckiest guy who's ever lived," Gillispie said. "This goes beyond that."

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