SOUL LEGEND BARRY WHITE'S DEATHBED DRAMA

Published on: October 8, 2002

Two friends of legendary singer Barry White got the shock of their lives when they found the star lying on the floor of his home, unable to speak or move following a massive stroke, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

The 58-year-old soul singer's condition was so severe he nearly died before being rushed to a hospital, a friend of the family has revealed.

The Grammy Award winner's recording company and family told just part of the story when they publicly acknowledged only that Barry is suffering from kidney problems and was undergoing dialysis.

"He had a stroke that left him paralyzed on the right side of his body," the family friend told The ENQUIRER. "Doctors told the family Barry had suffered brain damage and his kidneys were only working at 3 percent capacity.

"Barry's family was hoping for the best, but they knew they should prepare for the worst."

The ailing star, who has garnered a new generation of fans with his regular appearances on "Ally McBeal," was discovered on September 16 at his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home by friends who stopped by to visit, the friend revealed.

"They found Barry lying on the floor incoherent," said the family friend. "They rushed to him, asking what was wrong. He struggled to talk but couldn't get anything out and began to cry softly in frustration.

"They rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where doctors found he'd had a stroke. Barry looked helpless and worried as the medical staff buzzed around him. They were trying to prevent him from having another stroke before they could get him stabilized."

Barry, who has suffered from high blood pressure for years, was given an MRI to see how much damage he'd suffered from the stroke.

"It was clear something else was going on with him and when the results came back it was worse than they originally thought," the family friend said. "Barry had suffered brain damage."

After the ailing singer -- whose hit songs include the popular "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" -- was transferred to a private hospital room, loved ones surrounded him as he battled for life.

"Barry couldn't talk to them and they tried to calm him down," the family friend recalled. "He could barely grip their hands and he had to point to things to make them understand what he was trying to say. It was hard to watch this man who has always been so independent struggle just to ask for a glass of water."

Soon doctors delivered still more bad news: Another series of tests had revealed that 97 percent of Barry's kidney function was gone. The singer and his family were devastated.

"Everyone broke down," the family friend said. "They all knew he was in really bad shape and worried he wouldn't make it this time. And Barry was very upset and scared. He has been sick before but he has never been this bad off and he was afraid he was going to die.