updated 02/27/2009 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/27/2009 AT 2:30 PM ET
Ed McMahon has been in a Los Angeles-area hospital nearly a month under treatment for pneumonia and other medical issues, and is currently in ICU, a spokesman for the veteran TV fixture confirms to PEOPLE.
“We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers,” said McMahon’s representative and friend, Howard Bragman. The spokesman was responding to a TMZ report about McMahon’s “serious” medical condition.
Best known for his years next to Johnny Carson’s desk on NBC’s Tonight Show – as well as the emcee of Star Search – Mahon, 85, was in the news last year for his financial problems that resulted in the near-foreclosure of his Beverly Hills-area home.
While Bragman did confirm that McMahon is suffering with a respiratory infection, the rep did not specify which hospital is treating him in an intensive care unit, beyond saying, “He’s not at Cedars-Sinai.”
“The family is asking for privacy and we’d like to respect that at this time,” adds Bragman. “We are hoping and praying for the best.”
Reporting by PAMELA WARRICK