July 16, 2009

Armstrong tweets support to John Hartson

Ex-Wales soccer player John Hartson received a tweet of support from cycling star Lance Armstrong as Hartson battles for his life following emergency surgery.

The 34-year-old former striker, or forward, for the Glasgow, Scotland, Celtic and London West Ham United and Arsenal football clubs was in critical but stable condition and receiving round-the-clock care aiming to stabilize his condition at a hospital in Swansea, Wales, after being diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to his brain and lungs, hospital officials said Thursday.

Armstrong, who avoided disaster in Thursday's 12th stage of the Tour de France after puncturing a back wheel tire with just 37 miles left in the 131-mile ride from Tonnerre to Vittel, sent his message to Hartson through the Twitter social networking and micro-blogging service.

My thoughts go out to John Hartson, the message said. Livestrong, John! We're pulling for you! Folks, hold him in your thoughts and prayers please.

Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular, lung and brain cancer in the mid-1990s.

Hartson will resume radiotherapy and chemotherapy as soon as possible, a hospital official said Thursday.

Doctors aim for a positive outcome from this treatment, Dr. Gianfilippo Bertelli, consultant medical oncologist at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust in Baglan, Wales, told The Times of London.

Hartson joined the Celtic club in 2001 and was a popular figure with fans during the five years he spent in Glasgow's Parkhead district.

He has served the club, and the game of football in general, with distinction over many years, a Celtic spokesman said. Clearly, everyone at the club fully supports John and his family at this extremely difficult time.