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Teflon Don Hospitalized

Former New York mob boss John Gotti, who is in the advanced stages of throat cancer, has been taken from his prison cell to a hospital.

Gotti was transferred from the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners to St. John's Regional Health Center, a government official said Friday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not comment on Gotti's condition.

Gotti's daughter, Victoria Gotti, arrived Thursday night, accompanied by a woman and two men whom she described as immediate family.

Asked about her father's health, she said, "We have no comment."

Gotti, 60, had a cancerous tumor removed from his neck in 1998. His lawyer, Joseph Corozzo, said in April that Gotti was in the advanced stages of throat cancer.

Corozzo said Thursday he did not have any information on Gotti's current condition, and that he had not been in touch with Gotti's family.

Uniformed guards from the Bureau of Federal Prisons were seen coming and going from an intensive care unit at the hospital Thursday night. When asked if it was too late to visit Gotti, one guard answered, "I don't know what you are talking about."

A spokeswoman at St. John's referred questions to the federal medical center. Two security guards ushered a reporter out of the hospital, saying hospital policy forbids reporters inside without an escort.

Diane Smith, a spokeswoman for the federal medical center, said she could not confirm or deny that Gotti had left the center.

Inmates requiring urgent medical care may be referred to outside hospitals, Smith said. St. John's is about a mile from the federal center.

"It's not uncommon for us to transport inmates to local facilities for care if their medical condition warrants it," Smith said.

Once known as the "Teflon Don" after a series of courtroom acquittals, Gotti was convicted of racketeering and six killings by a federal jury in 1992.

His victims included "Big Paul" Castellano, whom he then succeeded as boss of New York's Gambino crime family in 1985.

Gotti's son, John "Junior" Gotti, is also in federal prison. Junior took over the Gambino crime family when John Sr. was jailed, but pleaded guilty in 1999 to racketeering and was sentenced to 77 months. He is jailed in upstate New York.

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