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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 05:17 GMT 06:17 UK
Goodwill messages for Bruno
Frank Bruno
Friends said Bruno had been depressed for some time
Ex-heavyweight champion Frank Bruno has begun his second day of treatment at a psychiatric hospital.

Staff at Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford, where Bruno is being assessed, said they had received hundreds of messages from well-wishers.

Police officers and medics escorted the father-of-three from his home near Brentwood, Essex, on Monday evening.

It is believed the 41-year-old, who told the BBC last month he was being treated for depression, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

It was something he needs to address and hopefully he can get the help he needs, to get peace of mind and to get better
Frank Warren

Eyewitnesses said Bruno had been driven away from his home shortly before 1900 BST, after police and medics had been at his home for some hours.

Friends of Bruno described him as being depressed for some time, following a series of personal setbacks including divorce.

Visitors on Tuesday included his former wife, Laura, and their children.

Boxing promoter Frank Warren told BBC Radio Five Live his plea to Bruno to get medical help had fallen on deaf ears.

Ex-boxers who struggled to cope
Freddie Mills, former world light heavyweight champion, found shot dead behind a London nightclub in 1965
Britain's former world middleweight champion Randy Turpin, who beat the great Sugar Ray Robinson, turned to drink and committed suicide in 1966
Joe Louis, who earned $5m as world heavyweight champion in 1940s, suffered tax problems and drug abuse. Died in Las Vegas in 1981
Kirkland Laing, one of Britain's most talented boxers and a former middleweight contender, became drug addict and drunk. Now lives on the streets of Hackney.

Warren said: "This is very sad but hopefully the start of something good for Frank.

"It was something he needs to address and hopefully he can get the help he needs, to get peace of mind and to get better."

Earlier this year Bruno ignored medical advice and applied to have his boxing licence reinstated in a bid to regain the heavyweight world title he won in 1995.

Former world champion boxer Barry McGuigan said Bruno's behaviour of late had been "irrational" and he may have "buckled" under the weight of a number of recent personal issues.

As well as his wife leaving him, McGuigan said, he had also lost a very close friend when his former trainer George Francis committed suicide last year.

Mental health charity Sane criticised unsympathetic coverage of his illness in the media.

An early edition of the Sun had the front page headline "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up", which was later changed to "Sad Bruno in Mental Home".

Negative coverage

Sane chief executive Marjorie Wallace said: "It is both an insult to Mr Bruno and damaging to the many thousands of people who endure mental illness to label him as 'bonkers' or 'a nutter' and having to be 'put in a mental home'.

Conservative spokesman on health Dr Liam Fox said such negative coverage could stop other people coming forward to get the care they need.

He said the reporting reflected prejudice against mental illness throughout society.

"It will affect one in three of us at some point in our lives and I think that we have to have a much more mature, sensitive and understanding approach to mental illness," Dr Fox warned.

"We need to see it, not as a threat to us, but as a personal tragedy to those involved," he added.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Daniela Relph
"When he retired from boxing, there was nothing to fill the gap"



SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Mental health 'sectioning'
20 Aug 02  |  Health
Profile: Frank Bruno
23 Sep 03  |  Boxing
How Bruno's troubles began
23 Sep 03  |  Boxing
Bruno's career in pictures
22 Sep 03  |  Photo Galleries
Bruno applies to box again
17 Jun 03  |  Boxing



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