Michael says: Ronnie Biggs thrilled after receiving prison release

"LONDON – Ronnie Biggs, the last prisoner from Britains ""great train robbery"" and once a high-living fugitive in Rio de Janeiro, gained his freedom on Friday but remained near death in his hospital bed. Weakened by pneumonia, unable to speak and enfeebled by a series of strokes, Biggs laboriously tapped out on a spelling board that he was ""very happy"" that he had been given a compassionate release from custody. ""It was very emotional when the guards left,"" his son Michael said. The change of status came a day before Biggs 80th birthday and the 46th anniversary of the robbery, labeled ""the heist of the century."" British officials saw Biggs as an unrepentant thief who lived it up on his share of the gangs haul from 125 mail sacks holding 2,631,684 pounds, equivalent to at least 40 million pounds ($68 million) today. But to others he was, if not a lovable rogue, then at least someone who posed no threat to society and was unlikely to scale a 25-foot (seven meter) wall as h