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Hospital Deluged With Calls From Eazy-E's Fans


Telephone operators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have been deluged with thousands of calls from distraught fans since it was announced that "gangsta" rapper Eazy-E was in critical condition with AIDS in the hospital's intensive care unit.

"We've been just about overwhelmed," Paula Correia, director of public relations, said Saturday. "There's been an incredible outpouring of sympathy and we're not equipped to handle it."

The 31-year-old rap star, a co-founder of the Compton rap group N.W.A., was admitted to the hospital with a respiratory ailment Feb. 24 under an assumed name. Last week, his record company announced that he has AIDS, setting off the wave of phone calls to the hospital.

The calls have come in at a rate of more than 2,500 a day, Correia said--even more than the outpouring for popular television star Lucille Ball as she lay dying at the hospital in 1989.

Correia said the hospital is appealing to fans of the rap star, whose real name is Eric Wright, to await news on his condition from the media.

Cedars-Sinai has had to add extra operators, Correia said. "A lot of the fans are very distressed," she said, "and they want our operators to act as counselors."

She said that many callers had been insistent about talking to Eazy-E. "You can't talk to people in the intensive care unit," she said. "The only thing we can do is to inform the public as information is made available."

The rap star's recent bride, Tomika, and other relatives have been staying at the hospital around the clock, Correia said. Tomika is the mother of the rapper's 1-year-old son, the youngest of his seven children.

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