JOEY BARTON fears that Paul Gascoigne will be dead before the end of 2013 unless the former England star's friends give him the right support in his battle against alcoholism.
Gascoigne was admitted to an intensive care unit last weekend after he suffered complications while receiving treatment for his addiction to alcohol in a clinic in Arizona.
Barton has also experienced troubles related to alcoholism in the past and he gave a grim assessment of Gascoigne's predicament on Twitter.
"The alcohol abuse will kill him," Barton tweeted. "The prescription drug addiction and the addiction to the limelight and not having it anymore, are major issue(s).
"If those well-meaning souls get this wrong, he will be dead within the year. That's the reality.
"All thise (sic) that have tried to love/help him down the years have done so with the greatest intentions.
"And look at the man now. He needs professional help and the... privacy to recover. Not doing interviews and having the media follow him."
Gascoigne's long-term psychotherapist Dr John McKeown, though, played down any fears about the 45-year-old's long-term health.
"The hospital has reassured me that he is up and about walking," he said.
"Paul has experienced severe complications with his detoxification. This is not unusual for someone who has been drinking as heavily as he has.
"Paul was transferred from the US Clinic Cottonwood to a local hospital to be monitored so as to be completely satisfied that there are no other complications to his health.
"There are no fears for his life. We will aim to keep everyone concerned updated on a regular basis."