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Gloria Estefan opens up about the horrific 1990 bus crash that almost left her paralyzed

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Sami Drasin Los Angeles

It’s been 30 years since Gloria Estefan was in a near-fatal bus crash, which almost left her paralyzed. 

The accident happened in 1990, at the height of the “Conga” singer’s career.  The private bus she was traveling on, along with her husband, Emilio Estefan, and then nine-year-old son Nayib, attempted to stop on an icy Pennsylvania road after a tractor trailer jackknifed and blocked traffic.

As the bus was slowing, another tractor trailer hit it from behind and caused it to lose control due to the poor driving conditions.

No one on the bus was killed in the serious accident but some passengers, like Gloria, were seriously injured.  

“We got rear-ended by a fully loaded 18-wheeler and there was what felt like an explosion. It was huge,” Estefan detailed to her 25-year-old daughter Emily during Wednesday’s Red Table Talk: The Estefans. “I opened my eyes and I’m on the floor of the bus and I am looking around and it is mayhem.”

Estefan remembers her “wild-eyed” husband, who was “covered in blood,” screaming to her after the impact.

“I go, ‘Babe, I broke my back,'” the singer continued, adding that Emilio refused to believe her at first. “I tried to get up. I had the taste of electricity in my mouth. That’s the only way I can describe it…The pain was excruciating.”

The Grammy Award winner required back surgery and doctors feared that she would be left paralyzed and unable to have more children.

Thankfully, Estefan made a full recovery and decided to channel her pain and frustration from the accident into the 1991 single “Coming Out of the Dark.”

She and Emily, who fought back tears as her mother shared her story, performed the single as a soulful piano ballad.

By Megan Stone
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