The imprisoned 91-year-old founder of what was once one of the nation's largest cable television companies is seeking early release from prison for medical reasons.

Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas' lawyers say relatives have been told to "deal with end-of-life decisions," including the possibility of hospice care.

Federal Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan directed prosecutors to respond by next Tuesday to the defense request.

Rigas is scheduled to be released from prison in two years after serving a 12-year sentence in a looting and debt-hiding scandal.

He founded Adelphia in tiny Coudersport, Pennsylvania. It once was the nation's fifth-largest cable company. He also once owned the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.

At a 2005 sentencing, a judge said Rigas could be released early if he has less than three months to live.

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This story has been corrected to show that Rigas is serving a 12-year sentence, not a 15-year sentence.