LOCKERBIE bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is battling "advanced stage" cancer, his lawyer said today.
The former Libyan intelligence agent, 56, was diagnosed with prostate cancer after hospital tests last month and the disease has spread to other parts of his body, solicitor Tony Kelly said.
Al Megrahi is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 27 years for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 which led to the deaths of 270 people.
He was taken from his prison cell in HMP Greenock under tight security to undergo hospital tests at Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock last month.
It is understood he underwent a scan during an outpatient appointment before being returned to jail.
He arrived at the hospital in a convoy of six police motorcyclists and two police cars and spent about two hours there.
Al Megrahi was convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in 2001.
He lost an appeal in 2002, but was given a fresh chance to clear his name in June last year when the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) referred his case back to appeal judges for a second time.
Mr Kelly said that at this stage it would be "unwise" to attempt to predict his client's life expectancy.
But he said the appeal process would go on.
He said: "Following hospital tests, Mr Al Megrahi was last month diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"Unfortunately the disease has spread to other parts of his body and is therefore at an advanced stage.
"Mr Al Megrahi asks that the privacy of his family is respected at this difficult time.
"He wishes me to make clear that the fight to overturn his wrongful conviction for the Lockerbie bombing will go on.
"We on his legal team are continuing to prepare his appeal, which we hope will take place some time next year."
The Libyan won a legal victory last week in the latest stage of his bid to have his conviction overturned.
Judges ruled that his appeal could have a wide-ranging focus, looking beyond the issues raised by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) when it suggested he might have suffered a miscarriage of justice.
The Pan Am 103 flight atrocity killed all 259 men, women and children on board as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie, who died when aircraft wreckage rained down, causing a huge fireball which devastated parts of the town.
An international manhunt involving Scottish police and CIA investigators led to Al Megrahi and co-accused Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 46. They denied planting the bomb.
At first Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi refused to hand them over for trial but eventually a diplomatic deal led to the trial being held in Holland, neutral territory, under Scottish law.
After being found guilty Al Megrahi was transferred to Barlinnie in Glasgow before being moved to Greenock prison in February 2005.
Fhimah was acquitted and returned to Libya.
In July 2003 Al Megrahi was taken from his cell at Glasgow's Barlinnie prison to the city's Royal Infirmary after complaining of stomach pains.
He returned to the jail the same day after undergoing tests for a suspected stomach ulcer.