Fiancee calls for prayers as Fabrice Muamba remains critically ill in hospital
Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba is in a stable but critical condition following a cardiac arrest, the club said today.
A joint statement released by the club and the Barts and the London NHS Trust this morning, said: "Fabrice Muamba's heart condition is stable, but he remains critically ill in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital.
"The family is grateful to the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time."
The news comes after the player's fiancee urged fans to pray for the 23-year-old.
The club's manager, Owen Coyle, and chairman, Phil Gartside, visited the hospital this morning.
The player's fiancee last night urged fans to pray for him, while manager Coyle said he hoped there would be a "happy outcome".
It has emerged that paramedics could not get the midfielder's heart to start beating on its own for almost two hours after he collapsed 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 Bolton's quarter-final clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Paramedics desperately tried to resuscitate him but 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 in an induced coma in intensive care at the hospital, which is seven miles away from the stadium.
Muamba's fiancee, who goes by the name Shauna Muamba on Twitter and is mother to their son Joshua, told fans on the social networking site: "God is in control. Please keep @fmuamba in ur prayers xx"
She later added: "Please keep praying for @fmuamba its really helping I can feel it xx".
Another post said: "2 everyone out there thank u so much for all the love and support collectively as a family we appreciate it all. Plz continue 2 pray 4 fab x"
She tweeted on Valentine's Day that she had accepted the player's marriage proposal.
After visiting Muamba in hospital yesterday, Coyle said: "From our end, and on behalf of the family, we certainly want to say thanks to everybody.
"Everybody is praying for Fabrice, which is very important and that has been a real source of strength to the family.
"It's great to be talented at football but it is more important to be a genuinely nice man and Fabrice is that.
"We certainly hope he comes through this.
"Our concern is Fabrice and Fabrice only and that's what all our energy is going into - hopefully a happy outcome."
Relatives, including Muamba's brother and fiancee, and colleagues have visited the hospital since he was admitted.
Coyle has now attended the hospital three times and chairman Mr Gartside has also visited.
Mr Gartside said outside the hospital yesterday: "The support that we had yesterday from Tottenham and our own fans was fantastic - the staff, the fans, the players and the officials at the game - it was unbelievable.
"We have had so many messages of support from around the world."
He later released a statement on the club website, extending his thanks to hospital staff and the "global footballing family".
He hailed staff at the hospital as being "nothing short of exceptional".
Muamba's friend, Arsenal defender Johan Djourou, and Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who was in tears as Muamba lay on the pitch on Saturday, also visited yesterday.
Defoe stayed for 15 minutes and was too upset to comment as he left. Djourou was seen walking out of the hospital grounds later, after avoiding the waiting camera crews as he left the building.
Meanwhile, Bolton have postponed their next fixture.
The Premier League tie against Aston Villa was due to take place tomorrow evening, but a statement on the club's website said the match had been called off.
During several games yesterday, including Manchester United's Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle's game against Norwich, players and fans showed their support for Muamba with a minute's applause before kick-off.
During Chelsea's 5-2 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester City, former Bolton player Gary Cahill lifted his shirt to reveal a "Pray for Muamba" T-shirt after he scored the London club's first goal.
Since the incident, fellow players have taken to Twitter to express their shock.
The Trotters midfielder fell to the ground in front of a packed stadium on Saturday.
Shocked players and fans watched as the former England Under-21 star was treated with a defibrillator for several minutes before being stretchered off wearing an oxygen mask.
World Cup referee Howard Webb abandoned the game and Muamba was treated at the stadium before being taken to hospital, accompanied by Coyle and Bolton captain Kevin Davies.
The hospital said yesterday that Muamba had suffered a cardiac arrest and received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and en route to the London Chest Hospital where his heart eventually started working again.
They added that Muamba had been anaesthetised in intensive care and would be for at least 24 hours.
Fans have left a series of tributes, including cards, a flag and football shirts, to Muamba outside the hospital and at Bolton's Reebok Stadium.