Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FAMILY VIGIL FOR GEORGE; Football Legend Is Close to Death in London Hospital

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FAMILY VIGIL FOR GEORGE; Football Legend Is Close to Death in London Hospital

Article excerpt

Byline: FLORA STUBBS;CHRIS MILLAR

FAMILY and friends of George Best were keeping a vigil as he lay close to death in hospital today.

The condition of the 59-year-old former Manchester United star was said to be "as bad as it could get".

Best, who has fought alcoholism for many years, suffered internal bleeding at the Kensington hospital where he is being treated.

Friends said he had sent a "farewell" message warning he may have only days to live.

He was too unwell to speak and had to get an aide to phone those close to him and say goodbye on his behalf.

His son, Calum, 24, said: "It's touch and go. It's looking pretty bleak at the moment but I have every faith in the doctors. It's a very emotional time."

Best's father Dickie was among those who gathered in London, along with three sisters, Barbara, Carol and Julie.

A family friend in Belfast said: "Dickie rarely ever leaves Ireland but doctors told him it wasn't looking good for George. The doctors are doing everything they can, but George is fading. He's fighting but is very weak."

Best was admitted to hospital three weeks ago. He suffered complications after he had a reaction to the drugs he needs to stop his body rejecting the liver he received in a transplant in 2002.

He was moved to the intensive care ward of the private Cromwell Hospital as an infection spread to other organs, causing internal bleeding.

His agent Phil Hughes said: "He came in with a chest infection originally but now that has spread to his kidneys and it is infecting his other organs.

"He's got internal bleeding...he's seriously ill. At this point, he's fighting for his life. It's about as bad as it can get."

Best's former wife Alex, 33, said: "He has always been a fighter. I am just praying that, once again, he somehow manages to pull through against all the odds. …

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