Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Saturday, 18 July 2009 12:28 UK

Hartson still critical but stable

John Hartson
Hartson scored 89 goals during his five seasons with Celtic

Critically-ill former footballer John Hartson remains in a stable condition, say doctors.

The 34-year-old was told he had testicular cancer just over a week ago and doctors also found the disease had spread to his brain and lungs.

He had surgery on Tuesday to relieve pressure on his brain and resumed radiotherapy treatment on Friday.

His family said they were overwhelmed by the messages of support for the ex-Wales, Arsenal and Celtic striker.

On Friday, Hartson was transferred from Morriston Hospital in Swansea to the city's Singleton Hospital to receive radiotherapy to treat the disease.

But the father-of-three has since returned to Morriston's intensive care unit.

'Strength and comfort'

In a statement, his family said: "We want to acknowledge the outstanding care and skill that has been given to John by the medical and nursing staff at both Morriston and Singleton Hospitals.

"We also want to acknowledge the professionalism of the ambulance service.

"The family continues to ask for John's privacy and that of his family and the many hundreds of other patients at the hospital to be respected.

"We continue to be overwhelmed by the many thousands of messages of support and goodwill that continue to come in from football supporters, ordinary people, clubs, and sporting figures from around the world.

"We continue to take great strength and comfort from these messages."

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University NHS Trust said on Saturday morning that his condition remained critical but stable.

Dr Gianfilippo Bertelli, a consultant medical oncologist, said earlier this week that a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy would be started as soon as possible and that he could foresee many months of treatment.

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