Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is ''slipping away'' but remains confident that he will be cleared after his ''imminent'' death, a close friend has said.
Fife man George Thomson said Megrahi's family had gathered round his sick bed and were preparing for his passing.
Megrahi, who marked his 60th birthday on Sunday, is being aided by morphine as he attempts to quell the pain of prostate cancer.
The last of his British friends to visit Megrahi in Libya, Mr Thomson said few of the birthday gifts he will have received would mean as much to him as the keepsake he gave to the convict when he visited in December — a tea towel with Scots words on it.
The 66-year-old, who worked on the Libyan's defence team, revealed how Megrahi's heartbroken wife Aisha comforted their Scottish visitor as he almost broke down after seeing his old friend ravaged by cancer.
Mr Thomson, from Burntisland, was hit by the disease around the same time as Megrahi, but has battled back to health.
''When I arrived he (Megrahi) was asleep and mumbling prayers to himself,'' he said.
''I was very upset by how he looked. The last time I'd seen him was when he was still in Greenock Prison. He was playing football and looking healthy.
''His wife saw how shaken I was and she came over and put her arm around me.''
When Megrahi woke up Mr Thomson gave him the jokey tea towel, covered in dialect like 'glaikit', 'crabbit' and 'gallus'.
His face lit up,'' said Mr Thomson, a former police officer who worked as an investigator for two of Megrahi's solicitors.
''He has a great affection for the people of Scotland and he used Scots words like 'scunnered' to sum up his mood and 'dreich' to describe his environment. He liked me to teach him a new word every week.'' [RB: This last was a word that Mr Megrahi used in greeting me on the one occasion that I met him in HMP Greenock.]
Mr Thomson also taught football fan Megrahi about the Old Firm rivalry and convinced the Libyan to become a Rangers fan. (…)
Mr Thomson describes Megrahi as a placid character — but said he is capable of ''fiery'' outbursts due to his frustration at being jailed for a crime he still insists he did not commit.
''I saw him with tears streaming down his face. He would ask why they had blamed him for such an atrocity which involved women, children — innocent people.
''However, he had a sense of humour too and enjoyed special birthday cards we made up for him, with in-jokes about the case.''
Mr Thomson is convinced of Megrahi's innocence and talked of his hopes that the ''truth'' will eventually come out.
''He was always very thoughtful about sending birthday and Christmas cards to others and I got a card from him when my mother passed away,'' he continued.
''It is agonising for me to see an innocent man condemned as a terrorist. I have no doubt he didn't do it."
He added: ''When I saw him he was excited about new evidence casting doubt on claims that a timer fragment allegedly from the bomb came from a batch that was sold to Libya. He felt it was a key breakthrough.
''I only hope there can be a public inquiry into his wrongful conviction.
''As I left, knowing it was the last time I would see him, he gave me a gift of a beautifully-made Arabic waistcoat, which I treasure.''