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Muamba's heart failed for two hours
Paramedics desperately tried to resuscitate Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba but could not get his heart to start beating on its own for almost two hours, it has emerged.
The 23-year-old remains in a critical condition in hospital after suffering from a heart attack and collapsing on the pitch during an FA Cup tie.
He fell to the ground at White Hart Lane at 6.11pm on Saturday in front of millions of television viewers watching the quarter final between Tottenham Hotspur and his club, Bolton Wanderers.
Muamba went into cardiac arrest and paramedics were unable to start his heart working by itself again until he reached London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, east London, at 8pm.
He remains anaesthetised in intensive care at the hospital, which is seven miles away from the stadium. A small group of relatives, including Muamba's brother, left the hospital this afternoon but declined to comment.
Club manager Owen Coyle thanked fans for their support, adding: "Fabrice's family have asked me to pass on their thanks for the many, many kind messages of support from not only Bolton fans but also fans from clubs across the country and abroad. All our thoughts and prayers are for Fabrice and his family at this time. The family would also like to thank the media for respecting their privacy at this time."
A joint statement from the hospital and Bolton Wanderers read: "Fabrice Muamba remains in a critical condition in intensive care in the Heart Attack Centre at the London Chest Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening after collapsing at White Hart Lane where he sustained a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup quarter final against Tottenham Hotspur. Fabrice received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and on route to the London Chest Hospital where his heart eventually started working. As is normal medical practice, Fabrice remains anaesthetised in intensive care and will be for at least 24 hours. His condition continues to be closely monitored by the cardiac specialists at the hospital."
Bolton Wanderers have postponed their next fixture. The Premier League tie against Aston Villa was due to take place on Tuesday evening but a statement on the club's website says that the match has been called off following talks with Villa. "The club would like to thank Aston Villa and the Premier League for their kind support and understanding at this time," it said.
Fans left flowers, shirts and scarves at Bolton's Reebok Stadium close to the players' entrance and the location of the club's remembrance book. One message written on a card with a Manchester United emblem on it read: "Our thoughts and prayers are with you. One game, one family." A Bolton flag was signed with the message: "Just get back to full health. Praying for you." Two Bolton shirts were left at the scene, signed with messages of support.
In a statement Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said: "All our thoughts are with Fabrice, his family, Owen Coyle and the club. It was the right decision to abandon the game. Everybody was in a state of shock and it wouldn't have been right to carry on. Football is the last thing on anyone's mind when an awful situation such as this happens. All we are thinking about now is Fabrice and his family."