Brave Journey: Gabrielle Mooney Shares Her Story Of Life-Saving Brain Surgery

Gabrielle detailed her health struggles and revealed that she “died” in the midst of a medical emergency.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 2, 2023


11:08 am

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Gabrielle Mooney; Photos via Instagram

Singer/songwriter Gabrielle Mooney, sister of Dan + Shay’s Shay Mooney, faced a traumatic medical emergency that led to a life-saving brain surgery. Now, she is bravely sharing her story for the first time ever as she continues to recover. 

In a video shared on Instagram on Wednesday, June 28, Gabrielle recalled the traumatic situation and explained the events that led her to discover that she had been living with a large benign cyst on her brain. 

Brain Surgery Story

“Finally sharing my brain surgery story! I can’t tell y’all how strange it’s been with recovery. Not being able to use the right side of my face properly has been a STRUGGLE,” she captioned the clip. ”However, I am so blessed. I love y’all and thank you Jesus for your never ending love. 💕”

In the video, Gabrielle described how she had traveled back home to Arkansas to visit her family when she suddenly found herself in a terrifying emergency situation.

“I had brain surgery in February, let’s talk about it,” Gabrielle began. “[I] was coming home to Arkansas for Valentine’s Day and got a horrible headache. I make it home and my mom finds me in the bathroom throwing up. I don’t remember any of this.”

She went on to explain that her family was unable to get an ambulance due to severe weather, so they were forced to call a “private ambulance company.” Upon arriving at the emergency room, Gabrielle’s family received devastating news.

Gabrielle Mooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Gabrielle Mooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“I Don’t Remember Any Of This”

“Again, I don’t remember any of this. They get me to Fort Smith, the neighboring hospital and I don’t remember this, but I died,” she told her followers. ”If it wasn’t storming they would’ve taken me to Little Rock and they did not have the equipment to intubate me onboard. So, God was with me on that.”

The “Come On In” singer then revealed that she had a very large cyst on her brain and was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, “Hydrocephalus is a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up within the fluid-containing cavities or ventricles of the brain.”

“They nicknamed me ‘grabby’ at Little Rock because I was ripping out my IVs and blaming it on Erica. The doctor said he put me in a case study because it was one of the biggest cysts he’s ever seen and the hydrocephalus and everything should’ve killed me and it did not,” Gabrielle continued. 

Gabrielle Mooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Gabrielle Mooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

In the time since the surgery, Gabrielle Mooney has been experiencing facial paralysis, leading to symptoms such as drooping and a lopsided smile.

”Still insecure about my smile because my face has not been the same ever since and I’ve had to do a lot of therapy for it,” she added.

Gabrielle concluded the video by graciously thanking her followers for their prayers and sharing scripture from the Bible.

Leaning On Her Faith

“Needless to say there’s nothing my God can’t do. Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans that will prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope in the future.’ So whatever you’re going through right now just know that God has already seen it. He already knows. He already knows what the solution is. So put your trust in the Lord and know that things are going to work out and you’re going to be okay. I love you guys and thank you for all your prayers.”

She initially revealed that she had undergone brain surgery with her followers on April 6, 2023.

“So this is not something I’ve talked about until I knew I was good. I had brain surgery for a benign brain cyst almost 2 months ago now. I’m going to make a complete recovery, but wow y’all!” Gabrielle wrote at the time. 

The news comes just two weeks after Gabrielle Mooney announced her engagement to Graylan Stone.

“I snagged me a good one yall 😻 IM ENGAGED! @gzstone can’t wait to spend my life with you 😘,” the bride-to-be shared alongside a several photos of the couple. 

Her post raked in hundreds of comments, including one from her brother, Shay, who commented, “So freakin happy. 😢😍🙌❤️” 

Graylan Stone, Gabrielle Mooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Graylan Stone, Gabrielle Mooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

New Music

Gabrielle Mooney recently released a brand new song, “As The Blow Crow Flies.” The song finds the rising artist crooning over the age-old theme of a first love. She acknowledges the tranquility that stems from wishing well for the person who captured her heart, sending them off on their journey with a peaceful and grateful mindset, despite the impossibility of rekindling what once was.

This mesmerizing ballad, infused with Appalachian influences, captures the bittersweet yearning of unrequited first love. The title cleverly twists a beloved Southern phrase, showcasing the artist’s adeptness at crafting poetic narratives based on her own life experiences.

YouTube video

“I wrote this song with Danielle Blakey,” Gabrielle recalled in a press release. “I was in a reminiscent mood, and it’s about when you are young and in love you have all these hopes and dreams.  What happens a lot of times is your paths do not cross at that time and you have to let the person go to do what they’re meant to do, and they also have to let you go and do what you have to do as well, and sometimes those paths never cross again. But in the back of your mind you’re thinking I hope they do, because young love is so strong and it’s very hard to leave behind – especially when you have those roots together.”

Mooney recognizes that both she and Danielle aimed to approach the song with a positive outlook on the conclusion of first love. They genuinely wished the other person well and focused on nurturing a friendship, rather than adopting a mindset of lifelong animosity. 

Album Coming Soon

“I think it’s okay to give people permission to care and process letting go in a healthier way so they can still find peace within themselves,” she explained. 

“As The Black Crow Flies” gives fans a taste of Gabrielle Mooney’s forthcoming debut album, Moonsong. A release date for the project has yet to be announced.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.