Farrakhan `gravely ill'

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The Independent Online
LOUIS FARRAKHAN, the controversial leader of America's black Muslims, is gravely ill and "struggling to overcome the forces of death", according to the newspaper of his Nation of Islam movement The Final Call.

Mr Farrakhan, 65, has been gravely ill since January and is suffering from prostate cancer, which was diagnosed in 1991. He was quoted as saying he was suffering from the effects of radiation treatment and had lost 20lbs and had no appetite. "I have never been sick like this in my life," he said.

Known for his fiery rhetoric attacking Jews, whites, Catholics and homosexuals, Mr Farrakhan has drawn fierce condemnation, but his organisation, which numbers 200,000, is one of the fastest-growing movements in the US.

It is feared his death could destabilise the uneasy calm in race relations and precipitatea struggle to succeed him.