Home / Sports / Former NFL star Jim Kelly recovers after 12 hours of cancer surgery

Former NFL star Jim Kelly recovers after 12 hours of cancer surgery

Former NFL quarterback Jim Kelly recovered at a New York City hospital Wednesday night after nearly 12 hours of oral cancer surgery.

"We have successfully removed Mr. Kelly's cancer from his upper jaw and lymph nodes from his neck." Mark Urken, the operating surgeon, said in a statement to the Buffalo News. "We then reconstructed his upper jaw, and Mr. Kelly relaxes comfortably postoperatively."

The "complicated" operation was performed at Mount Sinai Hospital, the Buffalo News reported.

According to the news, Kelly was looking for rebuilding because no medication was given to help him deal with pain and did not want to use the prosthesis he had used since a previous operation.

In an Instagram post late Wednesday, Jill Kelly ̵

1; wife of the former Buffalo Bills star – wrote that her husband was standing in front of her "A very important time of recovery."

Earlier this month, Kelly announced that his cancer had returned after years of remission. He said he was "shocked and deeply distressed" by the news, but vowed to overcome the illness.

He then thanked his fans and other supporters.

"Since our family has experienced many trials and triumphs throughout the world years, you have blessed us with your prayers, we ask again for these prayers," Kelly said. "With all of you at my side, we will fight together win this battle. "

" With all of you by my side we will fight and win together fighting. "

– Jim Kelly

The diagnosis came just weeks after Kelly's 58th birthday. Kelly has been cancer free since September 2014.

  FILE - In this December 24, 2016, file photo, Buffalo Bill's Hall of Famer quarterback Jim Kelly is seen in front of an NFL football match in Orchard Park, NY Kelly was once again diagnosed with oral cancer Kelly published a statement by his publicist Thursday , March 1, 2018, said he is

Jim Kelly led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s.

He was first diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, resulting in surgery to remove part of his maxilla in June 2013. Follow-up nine months later showed that the cancer spread to his sinus, resulting in radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Kelly lost 70 pounds while being treated.

The effects of the cancer and the treatments made Kelly have difficulty speaking. He could no longer produce saliva and lost his sense of taste.

Kelly spent 11 seasons with the bills before retiring after the 1996 season and since then making Buffalo his home.

He was part of Bill's most successful era in which the team played in four early Super Bowls – all losses – in the early 1990s.

Kelly told the Associated Press that Stay Upbeat helped him cope with beating cancer. He also refused to pity himself, affirming his desire to share his experiences with others.

"I have no room to complain," Kelly said. "If tomorrow the Good Lord decides that this is my last day, I will not go down with a frown, I'll go down with a smile on my face and know I've taken everything out of life."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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