Actor Rock Hudson was reported in serious but stable condition Tuesday at UCLA Medical Center where he was taken for treatment of the deadly disease AIDS after being flown from Paris on a chartered jetliner.
In a statement at the medical center Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Michael Gottlieb said Hudson was being evaluated and treated for complications of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. He said the actor was “in good spirits and pleased to be home,” although fatigued by the long plane trip.
He said Hudson returned to Los Angeles from the American Hospital in Paris “in order to be in a familiar environment and to be cared for by his own physicians.”
Gottlieb, assistant professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and an expert in immunology, said Hudson “wished to recuperate and gain strength before any further consideration of experimental therapy.”
Could Not Continue
In Paris, Hudson spokeswoman Yanou Collart said doctors concluded that they could not continue to treat him at the American Hospital with the experimental drug HPA-23 because of his poor physical condition. The 59-year-old actor spent eight days at the hospital after collapsing at the Ritz Hotel on July 21.
He reportedly also is suffering from a liver ailment.
Collart said Hudson was treated for six weeks last year with the drug, which is not available in the United States but is used in a research program involving members of the French armed forces.
In his brief statement at UCLA, upon which neither he nor any of the medical center staff would elaborate, Gottlieb said Hudson’s condition is not expected to change rapidly during his hospitalization here.
The actor arrived at UCLA Medical Center shortly before 3 a.m. after a flight aboard an Air France Boeing 747 jet that reportedly cost $250,000 to charter. A Medstar helicopter carried Hudson from Los Angeles International Airport to the hospital.
Media on Hand
At least 60 reporters, photographers and television cameramen were waiting at the airport, but were kept 1,500 feet from the jet’s arrival spot. One free-lance television crew whirled around the area for about an hour, drowning out reporters who had no one to interview but Hudson’s local publicist, Dale Olson.
John Hicks, an airport operations superintendent, said the hospital-gowned Hudson was taken off the Air France plane on a stretcher and did not appear to be in pain, but obviously was under medication. “He looked pretty alert for having to go through all that he went through,” Hicks observed. “But I’m sure he’s felt much better in his day.”
Publicist Olson said he did not feel that Hudson was aware of the attention drawn by the announcement that he is suffering from AIDS, but that he wanted his illness disclosed in order to help promote new research in the field.
Olson said he knew of no pressure from the French government to deny Hudson treatment at a French military hospital and get him out of Paris. “It was his own decision to come back to the United States,” the publicist said. “This is his home and he would like to continue his treatment here.”
On Monday, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Paris said the French Defense Ministry had agreed to admit Hudson at the military hospital. But on Monday night, he was suddenly placed on the jet and flown to Los Angeles.