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Famed O.J. Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran was barely alive when paramedics rushed him to the hospital after he passed out while receiving chemotherapy treatment, sources say.
The gutsy defense attorney had pulled off another of his famous victories several months ago when he survived delicate surgery to have a golf ball-size tumor removed from his brain, as The ENQUIRER previously revealed.
And he recently announced that he was "90 percent" recovered from the life-threatening illness.
But the outlook suddenly turned grim when the 67-year-old attorney was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on the morning of September 27.
"Johnnie was fighting for his life when they wheeled him in," an insider told The ENQUIRER. "He passed out while he was receiving chemotherapy at a physician's office and could not be revived.
"He was rushed across town to Cedars and because of heavy traffic it took them nearly an hour to get there!"
According to the insider, emergency room docs found he was rapidly heading into heart failure. He wasn't breathing properly, his blood pressure was dangerously low and his heart was beating extremely slowly and erratically, said the insider.
"Doctors put him on a ventilator to assist his breathing. He was only partly conscious," said the insider.
Although Cochran's spokesman denied he was placed on a ventilator, and claims Cochran's visit was not a life-or-death situation, the insider said, "Johnnie kept struggling to pull out the ventilator and the doctors had to put him in restraints.
"After about an hour, Johnnie's wife Dale Mason arrived in the ER and struggled to hold back tears."
Yale Galanter, O.J. Simpson's Florida attorney, told The ENQUIRER: "Johnnie became O.J.'s hero and savior. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family."
- REGINALD FITZ, ALAN SMITH, PATRICIA SHIPP and JOHN SOUTH