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July 29, 2002
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Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer George Best is undergoing a liver transplant in London’s Cromwell Hospital, reports the BBC. The 56-year-old, who had been waiting for a donor since last year, had just returned from a trip to Malta when he went in for the operation.

“George is in the hospital at the moment,” the football star’s agent told The Evening Standard. “He had just got back from holiday and had the call early this morning.”

Doctors will be making a full statement on his progress on Tuesday afternoon. “The operation can take several hours,” said a hospital spokesman. “It is extremely variable.”

Born May 22, 1946, George became legendary for his skill on the pitch and his superstar status as one Britain’s original multi-millionaire celebrity athletes. Voted English and European footballer of the year in 1968, he later gained a reputation for a partying lifestyle.

In March last year, however, the retired legend was warned by doctors to quit alcohol for good. By Christmas, he was told he needed a liver transplant, as his own organ was functioning at only about 20 per cent.

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The 56-year-old former football star, who was told he needed a transplant in December, underwent the operation on Tuesday at London's Cromwell hospital

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