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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 18:32 GMT
George Best is 'desperately ill'

Football legend George Best remains "desperately ill", says his doctor.

Professor Roger Williams said the 59-year-old former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star had not deteriorated in the last 24 hours.

Relatives are at his bedside at the Cromwell Hospital, west London where he is being treated for a lung infection.

His condition was unchanged on Monday evening with no further updates expected until morning unless there was a dramatic change, the hospital said.

Earlier, Prof Williams, who oversaw Best's liver transplant three years ago, said his brain and pupils were reacting and there was no question of him being "kept alive".

"He cannot survive day after day without some improvement occurring," he added.

Best, who has battled alcoholism for years, has been receiving various hospital treatments, including antibiotics, clotting factors and replacement fluids.

But he is no longer being heavily sedated.

He was admitted to the west London hospital on 1 October suffering from flu-like infections and his health deteriorated rapidly at the beginning of November when he developed a kidney infection.

Best was re-admitted to the intensive care unit on Friday.

Public support

Phil Hughes, Best's agent, said the family were taking strength from the support offered by the public.

"They are bearing up," he said. "They would like to say thank you to all the well-wishers. It's a very hard time for all of us."

At the weekend Best allowed the News of the World to print a photograph taken of him in hospital, as a warning about the dangers of alcohol.

He had asked for the picture to be taken before being transferred into intensive care, the paper said.

In it, Best looks gaunt with a yellow pallor due to his malfunctioning liver, with tubes attached to his bruised body.

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