SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico
Hector “Macho” Camacho will be taken off life support, his mother said Friday night, indicating she would have doctors do that today. It was a decision the former championship boxer’s eldest son opposed.
The boxer’s mother, Maria Matias, told reporters outside the hospital where Camacho lay unconscious since being shot in the face that she had decided doctors should remove life support, but only after three of his sons arrived in Puerto Rico today and had a chance to see him a last time.
“I lost my son three days ago. He’s alive only because of a machine,” Matias said. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him.”
The three other sons were expected to arrive from the U.S. mainland around midnight Friday. “Until they arrive, we will not disconnect the machine,” Matias said.
The former champion’s mother has the final say in the matter, but his eldest son, Hector Jr., said he wants to keep his father alive.
“He’s going to fight until the end. My father is a boxer,” the son said.
Doctors have said Camacho is clinically brain dead from a shooting Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. But relatives and friends told The Associated Press they were still wrestling with whether to remove him from life support.
“It is a very difficult decision, a very delicate decision,” former pro boxer Victor “Luvi” Callejas, a longtime friend, said in a phone interview. “The last thing we lose is hope and faith. If there is still hope and faith, why not wait a little more?”
Aida Camacho, one of the boxer’s aunts, said in an interview that the family could decide by late Friday whether to donate his organs.
As some relatives and friends continued to pray for a miracle, condolences kept coming in for Camacho’s family and preparations began for memorials and a funeral Mass.
Gov. Luis Fortuno lamented what he called a sudden loss. “’Macho’ will always be remembered for his spontaneity and charisma in and out of the ring,” he said.
Also offering condolences was governor-elect Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who defeated Fortuno in November.
“The life of Macho Camacho, like other great athletes of ours, united the country,” he said.