Sir Paul McCartney is holding a bedside vigil for his old pal Neil Aspinall, the man widely acknowledged as the 'Fifth Beatle'. MCCartney flew to New York this weekend (begs21Mar08) after learning that Aspinall's condition had worsened. Aspinall is alleged to be suffering from lung cancer and is currently receiving treatment at Manhattan's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre. But the 65-year-old's illness has reportedly left him fighting for his life. A close friend of the Aspinall family says, "I understand that Paul saw him in hospital in New York. Paul will be devastated if he doesn't beat this. They have been mates ever since they were schoolboys in Liverpool (in England)." Aspinall is fondly referred to as the fifth member of the Fab Four because of his close ties to bandmembers MCCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. He served as their business manager and chief confidante for over 40 years, even singing backing vocals for the group's hit Yellow Submarine, and continued to look after the Beatles' interests as head of their record label Apple Corps until he stepped down from the post in 2007.