SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP):
Hector 'Macho' Camacho was clinging to life yesterday after being shot in the face while in a car, with doctors and his family expected to decide whether to remove the former boxing champion from life support.
Doctors initially had said Camacho was in critical but stable condition and expected to survive after he was shot on Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. But his condition worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, said Dr Ernesto Torres, director of the Centro Medico trauma centre in San Juan.
"He's battling minute to minute. This is the most important fight of his life," Torres told The Associated Press outside the hospital in the Puerto Rican capital.
Torres said doctors were trying to determine the boxer's level of brain activity.
The specialists will then consult with other doctors and Camacho's mother, who flew in yesterday from New York, to discuss whether he should be removed from life support, said Ismael Leandry, a long-time friend and former manager who was also at the hospital.
"We just have to wait to see if 'Macho' gets better. It's a hard battle," Leandry told AP.
Torres said Camacho's mother, Maria, spent about 20 minutes with her son, one of the most dynamic boxing personalities of his era, and was expected to return for a second visit last night.
"His mother came and she is devastated," he said. "She knows the prognosis is not at all favourable."
A godson, Widniel Adorno, said the family has discussed the possibility of organ donation, but no final decision has been made.
The 50-year-old Camacho was outside a bar in a parked Ford Mustang with a friend when he was shot in the face. The friend, identified as 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, was killed. Police said two assailants fled in an SUV, but no arrests have been made and no motive has been disclosed.
Camacho was rushed to Centro Medico, where doctors initially said the bullet passed through his jaw and lodged in his shoulder. Torres said the bullet damaged three of the four main arteries in his neck and fractured two vertebrae, which could leave him paralysed if he were to survive.
Friends and family members waited anxiously at the hospital, fondly recalling Camacho's high-energy personality and his powerful skills in the ring.
Camacho has been considered one of the more controversial figures in boxing, but also popular among fans and those who worked in the sport.
"The Macho Man was a promoter's dream," renowned promoter Don King told AP. "He excited boxing fans around the world with his inimitable style. He was a nice, amiable guy away from the ring."