Sparrow alive and alert

Margaret Francisco, wife of the calypso king, the Mighty Sparrow says the legendary singer is “conscious and responsive.”

“We are pleased to inform the fans of Dr. Slinger Francisco and the population at large that he is conscious and responsive,” she said in a statement issued in New York on Tuesday, referring to the family.

“He is being monitored, and we are hopeful that he will continue to progress further,” she added.

“We are especially grateful to the doctors and nurses for their professional and attentive caring for him,” she continued. “We also wish to express our profound appreciation for the prayers and outpouring of well wishes from all concerned and will issue further updates as it becomes necessary.”

Last week, the family confirmed that Sparrow, the Calypso King of the World, was in a coma in an unidentified New York hospital.

Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, and Trinidad and Tobago’s New York Consul General, Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam, have urged the public to offer prayers for the legendary calypsonian.

“I pray for a speedy and full recovery for my dear friend of over 30 years,” said Markowitz, who often jokingly refers himself as a “Trini Jew from Tunapuna,” told Caribbean Life.

“He is the true calypso king of the world, a proud son of both Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago,” he added.

Markowitz also described Sparrow as “a storyteller extraordinaire, who has delighted audiences across the Caribbean and beyond, including right here in Brooklyn, U.S.A. where he has performed on my summer concert stage for 31 successive years.”

Ramgoolam, whose consulate general recognized Sparrow on Aug. 30, with a Lifetime Achievement Award, noted that it is an “exceedingly difficult time for Sparrow’s family.

“Let us focus our energies on praying for both him and his family and allow the family to continue to take care of their loved one,” she told reporters in New York.

“Should there be any further developments, Richard Francisco (Sparrow’s son) has promised to inform the consulate general in New York and we, in turn, will issue an official release to reflect same.”

Richard, who had received the Lifetime Achievement Award, on behalf of his father, also told reporters that the calypso superstar “is resting comfortably, and he’s alive and well.

“The family wishes to thank the public for their prayers”, he said tersely.

Sparrow, who has been performing for more than four decades, has been having health challenges for the past three years.

These include undergoing surgery in 2010 to treat an incarcerated right inguinal hernia that had caused him to cut short performances in Trinidad and Tobago and in the United States, because of excruciating pain while on stage.

The Grenada-born Francisco, 78, has been hospitalized for complications caused by diabetes more than once, but has continued to perform both in Trinidad and Tobago and in the U.S.

Affectionately called “The Birdie”, Sparrow, who migrated to Trinidad and Tobago before he was a year old, was honored by the fishing and rural community of Grand Roy, St. John’s, Grenada last year.

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