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Demi Lovato breaks silence after apparent drug overdose: ‘I will keep fighting’

Pop star Demi Lovato spoke about her personal battle with mental illness before performing at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: SHAWN THEW/The Washington Post)

In Demi Lovato’s first public statement since being hospitalized for an apparent drug overdose, the pop star says she is focused on her sobriety and “road to recovery.”

“I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” Lovato wrote in a letter posted to her Instagram on Sunday. “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”

The singer thanked God “for keeping me alive and well,” as well as her fans, whose “positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time.” She also thanked her family and the staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “Without them I wouldn’t be here writing this letter to all of you.”

Lovato, 25, was hospitalized on the morning of July 24 after reportedly overdosing on an unspecified drug at her Hollywood Hills home. The Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed that emergency workers transported a 25-year-old to a hospital after responding to a medical emergency call on the block where Lovato’s home is located.

While authorities declined to publicly provide further details, sources told the Los Angeles Times that firefighters treated Lovato with Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Lovato has been candid about her battle with drug addiction over the years. In 2010, she left a tour to “seek medical treatment for emotional and physical issues,” a representative said at the time. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and eventually checked into a sober house. She has become a mental health advocate, speaking about her mental illness at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She described her struggles with addiction in detail in a 2017 YouTube documentary called “Simply Complicated.”

In March, Lovato announced she had been sober for six years. But in her new song “Sober,” she sings about having relapsed, apologizing to her fans who “watched me fall again.” “I wanna be a role model,” she sings, “but I’m only human.”

In the week after her overdose, the song “Sober” reentered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Streams of the song increased by 199 percent, Billboard reported, citing Nielsen Music.

According to gossip website TMZ, Lovato has agreed to check into a live-in rehab facility.

“I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery,” Lovato wrote in her Instagram post Sunday. “The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side.”

“I will keep fighting,” she added.

Celebrities, collaborators and fans sent with messages of support for the pop star on Sunday night, much like they did in the hours after reports of her hospitalization.

“Oh baby . . . sending you love,” Jennifer Lopez wrote on Lovato’s post.

“You are a warrior!!” commented Khloe Kardashian. “Focus on you and know that everyone is [rooting] . . . for you.”

“Mucho amor Demi,” wrote Luis Fonsi. “We love you.”

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