Best stable but critical on life support - 20 November, 2005 - News

Soccer great George Best's life depends on whether he improves in the next 24 hours, according to his doctor on Sunday.

Best, who needed a liver transplant three years ago after years of alcohol abuse, is in a stable but critical condition on life support in the Cromwell Hospital in west London.

The 59-year-old former Manchester United star has a lung infection after being hospitalized for the past six weeks with a series of infections. He had appeared to be improving until Thursday night.

Doctors had stopped the internal bleeding that left him close to death three weeks ago. He was sitting up and talking to friends and family until his latest relapse.

Members of Best family have been at the hospital for the past few days, but Williams said Best remained heavily sedated and was not communicating with those around him.

Regarded as one the most talented players of all time until his retirement at age 26, Best was renowned for his standout dribbling skills and memorable goals and helped Manchester United win the European Cup in 1968.

Best's career was marred by his wayward lifestyle, his womanizing led to a divorce from second wife Alex a year ago, and he continued to drink heavily after his liver transplant, AP reports.

A. A.