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Ashley Judd reveals frightening text she sent to her father after accident in Congo

The actor's father journeyed to South Africa to be by her side after an injury that nearly resulted in the loss of her leg.
/ Source: TODAY

As Ashley Judd was in the midst of an ordeal in which she nearly lost her leg after falling in a forest in Congo, her father was sent a frighteningly vague text message that she said "no parent ever wants."

Judd, 52, detailed her father's amazing effort to be by her side in South Africa as she endured a 55-hour odyssey after breaking her leg while studying the endangered bonobo population.

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The actor detailed on Instagram Monday how her father, Michael Ciminella, was alerted to her plight and immediately journeyed to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg to be with her.

"My beloved Dad, who had gotten the text no parent ever wants: 'emergency, can’t answer questions, please come now,' had indeed, because he is vaccinated, been able to come to South Africa," she wrote. "He has been my rock, companion, resource, helped me listen to so many doctors, critical support system, and kind, loving presence as I have wept and wept."

Judd added that her father accompanied her on four flights totaling 22 hours to return to the United States, where she remains in the hospital.

"In an American hospital, I had to continue to wait for the tissue damage and swelling to reduce," she wrote. "Eventually I was qualified to have the 8-hour surgery to repair the bones, decompress the hemorrhaging nerve and pick the shards of bones out of the nerve. I am now recovering from surgery."

She shared a video of the nurses who cared for her at the hospital in Johannesburg as well as a photo of her doctor and images and video of her recovering in her hospital bed and using a walker. The final photo was one of her father gently rubbing the foot on her surgically-repaired leg.

"I’m very thankful to all of the experts, including that expert pictured, my Pop, who is rubbing my foot to remind my foot while it still cannot move that it is connected to my body," she wrote. "I am up and around already. Thank you for your care and kind words. Let us always remember those without insurance. Let us remember those who do have choices. Let us remember those who are lonely and afraid."

Judd has maintained a strong relationship with her father despite a turbulent family life that she detailed in her 2011 memoir, "All That Is Bitter and Sweet."

She wrote that she and her sister, country music star Wynonna Judd, found out when they were adults that Ciminella was not Wynonna's biological father and that her mother, country singer Naomi Judd, had kept it a secret from them.

She wrote that her mother tried to turn her against her father after their divorce, but that the family ultimately came together despite all the dysfunction.

"I am happy to say that each of us has embarked on a personal process of healing, and my family is healthier than it has ever been," she wrote in 2011. "We have come far. In our individual and collective recoveries, we have learned that mental illness and addiction are family diseases, spanning and affecting generations."

Following her ordeal in South Africa, Judd also expressed her "deepest and most vulnerable thanks" to the nurses who cared for her. She wrote on Instagram that her leg had "no pulse" when she arrived and she "desperately needed a blood transfusion."

The actor and activist previously chronicled her ordeal in a pair of Instagram Live videos hosted by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof from her hospital bed in South Africa. She also shared her gratitude for the "Congolese brothers and sisters" who helped her, writing on Instagram that without their assistance she may have died of internal bleeding or lost her leg.