Liberace is gravely ill with anemia, emphysema and heart disease, a publicist said today in a reversal of previous reports that the entertainer was suffering only from anemia brought on by a strict watermelon diet.
The 67-year-old pianist is being treated by doctors at his home in Palm Springs, the spokeswoman, Denise Collier, said in a statement released in New York.
His manager, Seymour Heller, on Monday had angrily denied a report in the Las Vegas Sun that Liberace has AIDS. The newspaper based its story on unidentified sources.
"It is my great regret to inform you that Liberace is gravely ill with pernicious anemia, complicated by advanced emphysema and heart disease," Collier said today.
'Resting Comfortably' at Home
"Liberace is resting comfortably at his home . . . and is sincerely appreciative of the hundreds of get-well wishes and prayers he has received from his fans," she said.
Asked today if Liberace's illness was a complication of AIDS, Collier said: "All I know is this statement. He's only being treated for emphysema and heart disease. It seems to me that all this is heavy enough."
Earlier, Heller said Liberace was being treated for anemia brought on by a watermelon-only diet in which he shed about 25 pounds.
"The doctor put him on three square meals a day and iron tablets, and said he needed rest in order to regain his weight and his strength," Heller said. He said Liberace planned to take six months or a year off.
He was admitted Friday night to Eisenhower Memorial Hospital here, Heller said from his Los Angeles office. A hospital nursing supervisor said Liberace was released Monday morning.