Hector “Macho” Camacho will be taken off life support on Saturday by doctors in San Juan, Puerto Rico his mother said Friday night.
Maria Matias, Camacho’s mother, said she decided to make the difficult decision to remove her son off life support, but only after three of the boxers sons arrived to Puerto Rico early Saturday and had the opportunity to see their father for one final time.
“I lost my son three days ago. He’s alive only because of a machine,” Matias said. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him.”
The former boxing champion’s mother had the final decision in the situation, but Hector Jr., his eldest son, opposed his grandmother’s decision. He wants to keep his father alive.
“He’s going to fight until the end. My father is a boxer,” Hector Jr. said.
Camacho has been declared clinically brain dead from a shooting Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. The former champion was shot as he sat in a car with a friend, 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, who was killed in the shooting. But relatives and friends told The Associated Press they were still contemplating whether to remove him from life support.
“It is a very difficult decision, a very delicate decision,” former pro boxer Victor “Luvi” Callejas, a longtime friend, said 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?”
Since Matias has lost hope and faith, preparations have already begun for memorials and a funeral Mass in the wake of Camacho’s death.
One of the boxer’s aunts, Aida Camacho, said in an interview that the family could determine by late Friday whether to donate his organs.
The shooting of Camacho has affected everyone in the boxing world and Puerto Rico. Governor-elect Alejandro Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico offered his condolences.
“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.”
Police have yet to make any arrest in shooting, but continue to interview potential witnesses. Capt. Rafael Rosa told reporters Friday that the police are tracking down several leads, but added that very few witnesses were cooperating.
Puerto Rico has become violent U.S. territory of nearly 4 million people. Last year they reported 1,117 homicides.
Once Camacho is taken off life support, his sisters hope to have him flown back to New York and bury him.
Camacho had career record of 79-6-3. During his career he won the super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s. Camacho knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard in 1997, ending the former champ’s final comeback attempt.
But Camacho struggled with drug, alcohol and other issues during his lifespan. In 2007 he was sentenced to seven years in prison on burglary charges, but the sentence was subsequently suspended by a judge. The judge gave him a one year sentence and probation, but wound in up in jail for two weeks after violating his probation.