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anyways i was invited by one of my friends to this party :: dudesky8 (12:37:43 PM): Dec 15 - Wednesday "LIVE 883" Time: 8:30pm Venue: El Pueblo Real de Manila (Ortigas) Performers: PAOLO SANTOS KITCHIE NADAL NYOY VOLANTE & MANNOS TRUE FAITH FRANCIS M. and its for Free!!! FPJ IN COMA!

FERNANDO POE Jr. lay fighting for his life in a hospital intensive care unit yesterday, nearly 24 hours after suffering a stroke and falling into a coma.

As news spread across the nation that the 65-year-old king of Philippine movies was desperately ill, relatives, friends, people from across the political divide and churchmen and women offered prayers for the recovery of the man who came within 3 percent of unseating President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the May election.

Through the day, rumors by way of text messages flew that Poe had died but this was denied by friends who kept vigil at the neuro-intensive care unit of St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City."The critical period is the next 72 hours," said Sorsogon Representative Francis Escudero, who was Poe's spokesperson during the election.

Emerging from the room where his father lay unconscious, Poe's 21-year-old son, Ronian Poe, was weeping.

A relative rushed to comfort him. But the son just on a cold wall, his head bowed, tears falling.

Politicians, actors, relatives and fans who had trooped to the hospital shared his agony.

"Lalaban 'yan (He will fight on)," a relative told Ronian, referring to the actor.

But the son was speechless.

Poe's wife, actress Susan Roces, stayed beside her husband inside the ICU, greeting visitors, mostly limited to family members, who peeked into the room.

Her cell phone had been turned off since early morning.

Throughout his movie career spanning more than half a century, Poe -- Ronald Allan Poe in real life -- often portrayed the role of the underdog who overcame the toughest of odds to emerge victorious in the end.

'Still comatose'The question that gripped millions of moviegoers around the country yesterday was: Will their film hero win this, the biggest fight of his life?

Poe was brought to the hospital at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday after he complained of feeling dizzy while in the middle of a dinner party with his movie staff and friends at his studio on San Francisco del Monte Avenue in Quezon City.

"Right now he is critically ill. He is still comatose," neurologist Dr. Abdias Aquino told reporters yesterday noon. "It may take at least 72 hours for us to say anything more."

Aquino denied reports by some of Poe's visitors, including his friends, that the actor had suffered a series of strokes after he was brought to the hospital.

"Don't believe those things," the doctor told the Inquirer. "He suffered only one stroke."

Poe was placed on life support at about 4 p.m. yesterday, according to Susan Tagle, the actor's longtime assistant.

"Susan is calm," former actress Annabelle Rama told the Inquirer in Filipino in an interview, referring to Poe's wife. "I heard the doctor explain to her that they still have to determine if an operation should be performed on Ronnie (Poe’s nickname). The doctor told her Ronnie has a blood clot in the lower part of his brain."

Rama said she heard the news that Poe had suffered a stroke at 2:30 a.m. yesterday.

"I saw him being wheeled ... to the ICU," Rama said. "His right arm was moving, but he did not appear to be conscious. He was breathing through an oxygen mask."

Vigil at Room 336

Movie personalities streamed into the hospital through the day to be close to the stricken actor.

Poe was already unconscious when his wife arrived at his bedside at the hospital at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, a witness said. She was composed and seemed to serve as a reassuring presence to relatives and close friends, the witness added.

"Mr. FPJ is still comatose," Escudero said at a press conference, breaking the grim news. "According to his doctor, there was a clot or blockage in his vertebral stem in the head.

"The affected area is the right hemisphere of his brain," he added. "According to the doctor, this condition occurs suddenly."

A team of doctors led by Aquino, a longtime acquaintance of the Poes, was conducting a battery of tests on the actor.

"The treatment being administered is that he is being trumbulized or his veins and arteries are being pumped so nothing bad will happen to him," Escudero said. "He is responding to medication but he is in a (comatose) condition."

Call for prayers

Poe's allies organized a vigil at the nearby Christ The King seminary compound.

Stressing that the coming hours were important, Escudero said: "We are asking for prayers."

He said that during the party, a friend asked Poe about the presidential electoral protest he had filed in the Supreme Court.

During the dinner, the actor was bubbly and visibly in his element, friends said.

No sign of illness

"We were drinking and eating. We were on our second beers and the conversation was lively," Escudero said, recalling the moment before the actor fell ill.

Escudero said 20-30 people were at the party which began at about 9 p.m.

Dishes of beef, pork and fish were served. "He (Poe) didn't eat pork," an aide said.

"Walang lechon baboy (No roasted pig)," Escudero said.

Strong constituency

A source in the Poe camp claimed the actor was into his fourth beer when he complained of dizziness.

Escudero said there had been no signs that Poe was suffering from any illness. "He has a strong constituency ... He has returned to training after the 90-day campaign."

Escudero said Poe had no prior medical condition that could explain his falling ill. "He is not even taking maintenance medicine," he said.

Asked by journalists if Poe was drinking Saturday night, Escudero said this could not be related to what happened. "Please, let us not link the two," he said.

"He's hanging in there," said Senator Francis Pangilinan on leaving the ICU with his wife, actress Sharon Cuneta, at 7:15 p.m.

A doctor curtly said: "As of now, his condition is not good."

Another source said that a few days ago, the actor fell to his knees while playing with the child of actress Sheryl Cruz and had complained of dizziness.

Some reporters who covered Poe's presidential campaign had seen him take a puff or two of menthol cigarettes during evening breaks and after private dinners.

If certain accounts were to be believed, Poe, known for his drinking prowess in his younger years, had drinking bouts supposedly lasting until sunrise.

His known favorite beverage is San Miguel beer, of which he was one of the most successful endorsers.

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