Bernie Mac's publicist spent much of last night dispelling rumors that the 50-year-old comedian has died. He was checked into a Chicago hospital with pneumonia Friday night, but she says he's still alive and responding well to treatment. A source close to Mac's family, however, describes his condition as "very, very critical."

Comedian Bernie Mac was in "very, very critical" condition late Saturday at a Chicago hospital, according to a Chicago Sun-Times source who knows the comedian's family.

The revelation came after Mac's publicist told Chicago media Saturday that she had received multiple calls from news outlets regarding "absolutely untrue" rumors of the star's demise.

"It is a very horrible rumor," publicist Danica Smith said. "It is absolutely untrue. Nothing has changed from yesterday."

The 50-year-old south suburban resident's hospitalization was reported Friday. His publicist said then that the "King of Comedy" was admitted for pneumonia but was responding well to treatment, and should be released soon.

Smith also said she didn't know when Mac, whose real name is Bernard McCullough, entered the hospital. She said the pneumonia was unrelated to Mac's sarcoidosis, a chronic disease that can inflame tissue, particularly in the lungs. Smith said Mac's sarcoidosis has been in remission since 2005.

His wife, Rhonda McCullough, has been with him at the hospital. [Sun-Times]