According to the Daily Racing Form, the 50-year-old retired jockey was hospitalized Feb. 15 and three days later had a kidney removed. For the last several years, Romero has undergone dialysis treatment and with one kidney remaining, will have dialysis for the rest of his life.
Romero also battles chronic liver disease, according to DRF, but is not a candidate for a liver transplant due to having the hepatitis C virus, which he believes he may have contracted through one of many blood transfusions he received after he was burned in 1983.
Romero retired from riding in 1999 with nearly 4,300 wins and earnings of more than $75 million. He is best known for riding undefeated Personal Ensign in all 13 races, notably the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
He has been nominee for the Hall of Fame in previous years including 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007. Voting will begin in early March with the results announced in late April. An induction will follow Aug. 4 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Edgar Prado and Alex Solis are also nominated.
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