SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hector “Macho” Camacho will be taken off life support, his mother said Friday night, indicating she would have doctors do that today. It was a decision the former championship boxer’s eldest son opposed.
The boxer’s mother, Maria Matias, told reporters outside the hospital where Camacho lay unconscious since being shot in the face that she had decided doctors should remove life support, but only after three of his sons arrived in Puerto Rico early today and had a chance to see him a last 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,” she added.
The three other sons were expected to arrive from the U.S. mainland around midnight Friday. “Until they arrive, we will not disconnect the machine,” Matias said.
Another news conference was scheduled for this morning at Centro Medico, the main trauma center for San Juan.
The former champion’s mother has the final say in the matter, but his eldest son, Hector Jr., said he wants to keep his father alive.
“He’s going to fight until the end. My father is a boxer,” the son said.
Doctors have said Camacho is clinically brain dead from a shooting Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. Camacho was shot as he sat in a car with a friend, 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, who was killed in the attack. Police spokesman Alex Diaz said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend’s pocket and a 10th bag open inside the car.
Police reported no arrests and said investigators continued to interview potential witnesses. Capt. Rafael Rosa told reporters Friday that they are tracking down several leads, but added that very few witnesses were cooperating. He declined to say whether police had identified any suspects.
Hector Camacho Jr. lamented the violence that grips Puerto Rico, a U.S. island territory of nearly 4 million people that reported a record 1,117 homicides last year.
“Death, jail, drugs, killings,” he said. “That’s what the streets are now.”
Camacho’s sisters have said they would like to fly Camacho’s body to New York and bury him there. Camacho grew up mostly in Harlem, earning the nickname the “Harlem Heckler.”
He won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s and fought high-profile bouts against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard. Camacho knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending the former champ’s final comeback attempt. Camacho had a career record of 79-6-3.
Camacho battled drug, alcohol and other problems throughout his life. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison on burglary charges, but a judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail, though, after violating that probation. A wife also filed domestic abuse complaints against him twice before their divorce.