American held in Cuban prison tells family final goodbyes - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

American held in Cuban prison tells family final goodbyes

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Alan Gross, left, pictured with his wife Judy. Alan Gross has been in a Cuban prison for five years. (Source: Gross Family/CNN) Alan Gross, left, pictured with his wife Judy. Alan Gross has been in a Cuban prison for five years. (Source: Gross Family/CNN)

(CNN) - Alan Gross has been detained in a Cuban prison for five years, and is apparently preparing to die.

The wife of Alan Gross says he was gaunt and physically frail when she visited him earlier this year.

She says Gross said his final goodbyes to her and their daughter.

His attorney says Gross is withdrawn, and told him his life in prison is not worth living. Attorney Scott Gilbert tells The Baltimore Sun that Gross is in a small cell for 24-hours a day, he can barely walk and his hips are failing. He's also lost vision in his right eye and lost more than 100 pounds during his time in prison.

The 65-year-old Gross is serving a 15-year sentence for bringing satellite communications equipment into the country.

The Maryland man was a subcontractor for the U.S. agency for international development.

U.S. officials said Gross was merely trying to help Cubans bypass the island's stringent restrictions on internet access.

But Cuban authorities say gross was part of a plot to create "a Cuban spring" and destabilize the island's single-party Communist government.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman says they urgently reiterate their call for the Cuban government to release Gross immediately.

A group of rabbis have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to intervene, according to The Sun.

The National Security Council has stated that Gross' "release remains a top priority of the United States."

Copyright 2014 Gross Family via CNN. All rights reserved.

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