David Ortiz's wife, Tiffany Ortiz, is thanking the man whom she says saved her husband's life after he was shot and hospitalized on Sunday in his home nation of the Dominican Republic.
The Boston Red Sox issued a statement on behalf of Tiffany, 45, who has been married to the former MLB player since 2002.
"I want to take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Eliezer Salvador, owner of Presidente Sports, for your quick thinking and swift action on Sunday night," the statement began.
"Your heroism and selflessness were the first steps to ensuring David could get the urgent care he required," she added. "For that, we are eternally grateful."
The statement also thanked the surgeons at the Abel Gonzalez Clinic where Ortiz, 43, was rushed to after he was shot in the back at an nightclub in Santo Domingo. The bullet went straight through his stomach, damaging his intestines and liver.
"David remains in guarded condition in the surgical intensive care unit following his second surgery," Tiffany's statement continued. "He continues to heal and make progress. David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary."
Although the couple has been married for 17 years, in 2013, they announced they'd be separating and likely divorcing; however, a year later, they reconciled. They share three children: Jessica, 22, Alexandra, 14, and D'Angelo, 14.
Ortiz was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday, the day after the shooting, where he has been receiving medical support after undergoing two surgeries. The first, in the Dominican Republic, lasted six hours, ESPN reports. It was led by Dr. Abel Gonzales, who told the sports outlet that Ortiz's quality of life will be "the same as before" once he heals and recovers. Doctors approved his transfer to Boston after the surgery, and the Red Sox sent an air ambulance to pick up the all star.
The second surgery concluded at about 1 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital, medical assistant Leo Lopez told ESPN.
"He is out of surgery and stable; he is resting," Ortiz's father, Leo Ortiz, confirmed. "Big Papi will be around for a long time."
Jhoel Lopez, the TV show host who was also shot, is recovering, his wife said.
CNN reports that prosecutors charged eight men and one woman as accomplices in the attempted murder. They all appeared in court Thursday in Santo Domingo. The alleged gunman, Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, 25, is wanted by New Jersey authorities for two armed robbery in 2017, Dominican prosecutors said in a statement. One suspect, Eddy Vladimir Féliz Garcia, who is accused of driving the Cruz to the club on a motorcycle, was chased down by witnesses and viciously beaten shortly after the shooting.
A 10th suspect still remains on the run, CNN reports. The relationship between the suspects is unclear, as is the motive of the shooting — although the Dominican National Police said the suspects were offered 400,000 Dominican pesos — about $7,800 — to carry out the hit.
Ortiz, possibly best known as Big Papi, was a fixture in the MLB for 20 seasons and was a standout for the Boston Red Sox for the majority of his career. He helped lead the team to three World Series titles during his tenure, including their miraculous win in 2004 that broke the famous "Curse of the Bambino." The 43-year-old retired in 2016.
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