They know they may have to do it, but the decision is difficult.
Family and friends who kept a somber vigil at the bedside of former boxing champion Héctor ‘Macho’ Camacho, who was declared brain dead after a shooting in Puerto Rico earlier this week, say they are still wrestling with whether to remove him from life support.
"It is a very difficult decision, a very delicate decision," said former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas, a longtime friend, 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?"
The last thing we lose is hope and faith. If there is still hope and faith, why not wait a little more?
- Former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas
Camacho's oldest son, Héctor Camacho Jr., told reporters his father has not been disconnected from an artificial respirator and that he believes he is still alive. Two of Camacho's sisters have asked that he remain on life support until Saturday.
Aída 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 the boxer's family and preparations have begun for memorials and a funeral Mass.
Gov. Luis Fortuño said he 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 García Padilla, who defeated Fortuño in November.
"The life of Macho Camacho, like other great athletes of ours, united the country," he said. "We celebrated his triumphs in the streets and we applauded him with noble sportsmanship when he didn't prevail."
Camacho was shot Tuesday night as he sat in a car with a friend, 49-year-old Adrián Mojica Moreno, who was killed in the attack. Police spokesman Alex Díaz said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend's pocket, and a 10th bag open inside the car.
Police have made no arrests and continue to interview potential witnesses. Capt. Rafael Rosa told reporters Friday that they are tracking down several leads, but added that very few witnesses are cooperating. He declined to say whether police have identified any suspects.
Camacho Jr. lamented the violence that has consumed Puerto Rico, a U.S. island territory of nearly 4 million people that reported a record 1,117 homicides last year.
"Death, jail, drugs, killings," he said. "That's what the streets are now."
Camacho's sisters have said they would like to fly Camacho's body to New York and bury him there. Camacho grew up mostly in Harlem, earning the nickname the "Harlem Heckler."
He won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s and fought high-profile bouts against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard. Camacho knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending the former champ's final comeback attempt. Camacho had a career record of 79-6-3.
Camacho also battled drug, alcohol and other problems throughout his life. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison on burglary charges, and a wife also filed domestic abuse complaints against him twice before their divorce.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.