Paul Gascoigne is "truly grateful" for his celebrity pals who have rallied round to offer their support as he enters rehab.

The troubled former England footballer has battled with alcohol problems for many years and recently suffered a relapse. But his caring friends, including cricketer Ronnie Irani, Chris Evans and former teammate Gary Lineker, have all chipped in to help Gazza get £6,000 a week treatment at a rehabilitation clinic in the US.

Ronnie explained to The Mirror that he received a message from Chris calling for his friends to provide help and support to Gazza after he was spotted buying alcohol near his home at 11am. Within hours the group had got together the money to get the ex-footballer on a plane to a clinic in Arizona and back into treatment.

The Providence Project, where Gazza has been receiving help, released a statement to offer their thanks to his friends for getting him into treatment so quickly.

The clinic said: "Thank you for all your support in helping Paul Gascoigne. He is truly grateful.

"Big thank you to Ronnie Irani for helping it happen. He recently relapsed and unfortunately both his physical and mental health deteriorated very quickly. We agreed that it would be best to enter a rehab programme abroad. Paul has also received great support from his friends. When battling any addiction, never stop trying.

"It might be the toughest fight of your life, but it's worth it. And you're worth it."

There had been concern about Gazza's health after he was seen at an event where he appeared to be struggling to keep hold of his microphone and had difficulty with his speech, prompting worries that he had begun drinking again.

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