David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz’s wife has spoken out for the first time since he was shot in the Dominican Republic to say he is ‘resting comfortably’ after surviving a second surgery.
Tiffany Ortiz issued a statement through the Red Sox on Tuesday to thank them for sending a plane to Santo Domingo to bring her 43-year-old husband home.
He was shot on Sunday at Dial bar by a gunman allegedly hired by a drug lord who, it is claimed, suspected Ortiz was having an affair with his wife.
No other motive for the killing has been suggested.
In her statement, Tiffany, the baseballer’s wife of 17 years, said: ‘David arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital last night and underwent a successful second surgery.
‘He’s is stable, awake and resting comfortably this morning in the ICU where he is expected to remain for the next several days.
‘On behalf of me and my family, I want to thank John and Linda Henry, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and the Boston Red Sox for all that they are doing for David and our family, as well as Dr. Larry Ronan and the amazing staff at Massachusetts General Hospital.’
The former Red Sox slugger had a second surgery on Tuesday though it is not clear what it was for.
Afterwards, he took his first steps in front of Tiffany and their teenage children.
He first had surgery to remove part of his intestines and gallbladder. It is unclear what the second surgery was for but his spokesman said he took his first steps afterwards.
On Monday, Ortiz’s 14-year-old son D’Angelo took to Instagram to share a photograph of his father, writing: ‘Pops I Love u there is nobody stronger then u (sic).
‘It’s only a matter of days till ur (sic) up running around doing ur (sic) thing again I love u (sic) pops endlessly and everybody is praying for you right now love you.’
D’Angelo was spotted arriving at the clinic where his father was being treated in Santo Domingo on Monday before he was cleared for travel.
On Sunday, he was shot in the back by an unnamed gunman as he sat with friends at the Dial Bar and Lounge.
The shooter was on the back of a motorcycle being driven by Eddy Feliz Garcia, 25, according to police.
They were able to get away on foot but Garcia was caught by the angry crowd and was beaten until police arrived.
He is being held in custody along with ‘multiple’ others, according to local media, but authorities have not released anyone else’s name.
Multiple police sources told DailyMail.com on Monday that Garcia and the shooter had been hired by a reputed druglord who wanted Ortiz killed because he thought he was having an affair with his wife.
Ortiz, who has been married to his wife Tiffany for 17 years, has not commented on the shooting but his spokesman said on Monday that it was not over a woman.
He said he was certain, however, it was a contract job.
The Red Sox sent its team plane to retrieve Ortiz on Monday after he was cleared for travel by doctors.
They say that after the surgery, he opened his eyes and asked for his family.
Ortiz is credited with helping the city of Boston recover from the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013 with an iconic speech where he told crowds: ‘This is our f****** city’.
‘He’s on the Mount Rushmore of Boston sports,’ said Eddie Romero, the team’s assistant general manager.
‘He is a superhero without a cape,’ Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters on Monday.
‘That’s the way we see him.’
‘I always said that he’s bigger than life, David,’ the manager said.
‘He’ll give you a hug, a big smile, he does it with everybody. He does it with my daughter and my kids.
‘So it’s been a tough one.
‘I just hope when he gets here everything is fine and we can see the big man again with us filling a room with joy.’
Cora was teammates with Ortiz during their years on the Red Sox.
Another former teammate, retired catcher Jason Varitek, also spoke out in support of Ortiz.
‘I didn’t sleep very well last night,’ Varitek told the Boston Herald.
‘I don’t think anybody did. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on.
‘Still don’t know that much but everybody has seen and heard.’
Television cameras showed Ortiz, 43, being transported from Clinica Abel Gonzalez in Santo Domingo to the airport via ambulance.
Before the team’s game against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park on Monday, the players and fans in attendance observed a moment of silence in honor of Ortiz.
‘All of us were shocked by last night’s news about David Ortiz,’ the public address announcer at Fenway Park said.
‘Our community has felt a palpable concern ever since.
‘As befits his outsized personality, wishes for a speedy recovery have poured in from all over baseball, from the world of sports, and even from respected world leaders.
‘He is loved throughout our nation and beyond, yet, to us, he is our own adopted son.
‘Won’t you please join us as we offer a moment of reflection, thought, and prayer for a complete healing and a full recovery for our beloved Big Papi.’
On Twitter, former President Barack Obama posted a photo showing him, Ortiz, and the rest of the Red Sox during their visit to the White House celebrating their World Series championship.
Obama tweeted: ‘Six years ago, David Ortiz’s spirit and resolve helped us all begin to heal from the Boston Marathon bombing.
‘Today, I want to join many others in wishing him a speedy recovery of his own.
‘Get well soon, Papi.’
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted: ‘Boston is thinking of you, @davidortiz, and wishing you a full and quick recovery. Get well soon.’
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tweeted a picture of him greeting Ortiz. The caption read: ‘Papi defines Boston Strong…get well soon my friend!!!’
The Boston Bruins tweeted a photo of Ortiz with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. The caption read: ‘Boston loves Bib Papi. Wishing you all the best in your recovery, @davidortiz.’
The Boston Celtics tweeted a photo showing its star forward, Al Horford, sharing a laugh with Ortiz. The caption read: ‘Few people can influence a city like you have. Wishing you a speedy recovery, #34.’
The New England Patriots tweeted a photo of Ortiz wearing a No. 12 Tom Brady jersey. ‘Big Papi means the world to this city,’ the Patriots tweeted. ‘Wishing you a speedy recovery, @davidortiz.’
Ron Gronkowski, the star Patriots tight end who retired at the end of last season, tweeted: ‘Thinking of you @davidortiz you’re a legend, friend, and represent strength like no other! Get well soon, New England loves you’
Major League Baseball tweeted: ‘Our thoughts are with David Ortiz, who is reportedly hospitalized after being shot in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic’
Police in the Dominican Republic believe Ortiz was shot by two cops hired by a Dominican Republic drug lord who believed the baseball player was having an affair with his wife, DailyMail.com has learned.
In a video widely shared on social media afterwards, Garcia is filmed claiming not to know anything about the attack.
In Spanish, the crowd yells at him: ‘You don’t know anything? You don’t know anything?’
Ortiz, who retired from baseball in 2016, is from the Dominican Republic and splits his time between the city of Santo Domingo, where the attack happened, and Miami where he lives with his wife and children.
He is well known in Santo Domingo and is known to frequent the bars and restaurants where the attack happened.
Before he was shot, he and Lopez were seen with other men drinking and smoking cigars.
Initial reports suggested that it was an attempted robbery but police have since dismissed that.
‘So far the case is under investigation. Social media networks are speculating many things.
‘We can not give you more details,’ Lieutenant Pimentel of the National Police in Santo Domingo told DailyMail.com on Monday.
Ortiz was rushed into surgery at the Abel Gonzolez Clinic.
Before he was operated on, he told doctors: ‘Please don’t let me die, I’m a good man.’
His father said on Monday that he was doing well after the operation.
‘Doctors say that David is out of danger, thank God. What they have told me post-op is that the doctors believe he will recover quickly.
‘Big Papi will be around for a long time,’ Leo Ortiz told ESPN.
Ortiz previously told of his fears of being hurt in his home country.
Before a 2015 ballgame at Fenway Park, he told a Dominican journalist that he violence in his native country was out of control and that he didn’t feel comfortable carrying a firearm to protect himself in public.
‘This is getting out of hand. I think they need to deal strongly because I like going to my country and I know the people love you and take care of you.
‘But you know that when those dudes are out to get theirs, they are not thinking right and they could care less who is who.
‘And I don’t want to carry an AK-47 inside my car over there. I don’t want to walk around everywhere with a bunch of guns. I am not a gun carrier.
‘I am not a guy looking for trouble. But that’s what the (present) moment is demanding you to do,’ he said.
The shooting sparked an outpouring of support from both former teammates and former opponents.
Ortiz is beloved in the Dominican Republic, where he is well-known for his charity work with children.
In 2007, Ortiz founded the David Ortiz Children’s Fund to help children with cardiac disorders in both the Dominican Republic and New England.
Ortiz ended his 20-year big league career in 2016, when he earned the last of his 10 All-Star appearances.
The former designated hitter and first baseman won seven Silver Slugger awards in his career, and he hit 541 home runs with 1,768 RBIs in 2,408 games in the majors.
He ranks 17th in major league history ion career home runs.
Ortiz began his major league career by playing six seasons for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002), but his career blossomed after he joined the Red Sox.
His postseason heroics helped Boston capture its first World Series title in 86 years in 2004, when he was the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series as the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 series deficit to the New York Yankees in seven games.
He also helped the Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013, capturing World Series MVP honors in the latter season.