Gibb brothers retract 'grief-stricken' criticism of hospital

THE surviving brothers of the singer Maurice Gibb yesterday voiced their concerns about their brother’s hospital treatment, doubts which they later retracted.

In an earlier emotional interview they condemned the treatment Maurice had received at the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in Miami. But later they said they were deeply upset their comments were made public by the BBC.

"We are all completely grief-stricken and things get said that are not necessarily intended", said a family source and added "Barry and Robin have lost a very dear brother and they obviously have questions, but the family has had a good relationship with the Mount Sinai Medical Centre for many years. They withdrew their comments and understood that would be the case. This is a family in mourning."

Maurice Gibb died on Sunday at the age of 53 when his condition deteriorated following a heart attack. His brother Barry, 55, had been adamant he would fight to discover the truth about Maurice’s death. On Sunday night, he said: "The fact that they had to operate on Maurice during the shock of cardiac arrest, is very questionable and we will pursue every factor, every element, every second of the timeline of the final hours of Maurice’s life. We will pursue that relentlessly ," he said.

Maurice had "experienced cardiac arrest" before his surgery on an intestinal blockage, the hospital said. He had been listed as being in a critical but stable condition after the operation and until he died.

Robin flew from Britain on Saturday night and went straight to the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in Miami to be with his twin. Barry who was in the US, was also with Maurice the evening he died. No time of death was given but it appeared to have been very early on Sunday. No-one at the hospital was available for comment.

Barry said he had been told that Maurice’s intestines were twisted because of a congenital defect and that doctors had removed 80 per cent of his stomach.

They had earlier questioned why doctors did not diagnose what was wrong with Maurice when he first arrived at the hospital. Barry said: "None of the sequence of events have yet made sense to us."

Maurice’s widow, Yvonne, and his two children, Adam and Samantha, who are in their 20s, were said to be distraught. "This has ... destroyed them. It’s going to take them years to come to terms with the loss of Maurice. He was everything to them," Barry said.

Maurice, once married to Lulu, always wore a hat and an Alcoholics Anonymous lapel badge and was the most outgoing member of the Bee Gees. "Maurice liked being silly," Barry said. "He was an extrovert. He would never walk into a room. Maurice would prance into a room. And his presence was immediate."

Barry added: "He will be a void, always in our lives and he will always be featured as the third member of the Bee Gees, no matter what we do." Paying tribute to the fans, Barry promised that the remaining Bee Gees would carry on and would record another album.

"The Bee Gees will not stop here. The Bee Gees will not disintegrate because we’ve lost Mo," he said.

Meanwhile, Denis Tetenes, the owner of Jimmy’s East Side Diner, a Miami restaurant where Maurice ate breakfast every Sunday, erected a shrine yesterday. He cordoned off Maurice’s usual table, and decorated it with flowers, a coffee cup and an autographed Bee Gees photograph.

"He was part of the restaurant, part of the staff, part of my heart," said Mr Tetenes.

The funeral has been arranged for Wednesday afternoon in Miami, the family confirmed last night. It is understood the family wants a memorial service in London at a later date. They have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations are made to the Andy Gibb Memorial Foundation, a charity set up after the death of the fourth brother from a heart infection in 1988.