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Fawcett reassures fans: 'I'm holding on'

Actress tells her fans she is suffering from a minor blood clot

Farrah Fawcett has urged fans to "hold on to hope" as she fights the latest round of her battle against cancer, denying reports she is unconscious and close to death after being admitted to a Los Angeles hospital.

The 63-year-old actress issued a statement to correct "false or exaggerated stories" about the state of her long-running illness, which was diagnosed in 2006. However, she admitted that the disease has now spread to her intestines and liver.

Fawcett had been rushed to hospital on Thursday, 48 hours after photos taken at Los Angeles airport showed her looking frail, confined to a wheelchair. The pictures were taken after a flight from Germany, where the former Charlie's Angels star had been having treatment for an illness that she has previously dubbed her "terrorist".

Through a friend, the television producer Craig Nevius, Fawcett yesterday insisted that she was suffering from a minor blood clot, which was a side effect of her treatment.

"Farrah is allowing this statement out of appreciation for her fans," he told People magazine. "Tonight, Farrah has hope, and she hopes that others will continue to hold onto theirs."

Fawcett was first diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006 and immediately underwent an aggressive course of chemotherapy and alternative treatments. She went into remission in early 2007, only for the cancer to return soon afterwards. In a statement released alongside Mr Nevius's comments, Fawcett's doctor, Lawrence Piro, explained that she had been taken to an unnamed Los Angeles hospital because of abdominal bleeding which had caused a haematoma.

"It was painful for her to walk, which is why she was in that wheelchair," he said. "And that pain, which was coming from the haematoma, had nothing directly to do with the cancer."

Fawcett, who was once among the most famous women in America and caused a sensation when she posed for Playboy during the 1970s, has spent months in Germany undergoing a form of stem-cell treatment which is illegal in the US. The process is being filmed for a documentary called A Wing And A Prayer, which will air on NBC.

She was being comforted yesterday by her former partner, Ryan O'Neal, with whom she has become reconciled since the illness was diagnosed.

Meanwhile, the couple's troubled son Redmond, 24, was being arrested on suspicion of attempting to bring drugs into a prison where he was visiting a friend. He was released on Sunday on $25,000 (£17,000) bail.