Of course, for his friends and family, well, they are just scrambling trying to figure out what to say and how to respond. They realize it's really serious.
In my experience as the recipient for this kind of support, I will share this insight with those of you looking for the right words; be sincere. It is very obvious when you are that uncomfortable. Your discomfort shows through. Your best bet is to just say what's on your mind and on your heart.
There is a responsibility on the part of the recipient, too. They must respond in kind. They must be sincere and say what's on their mind and on their heart. We all have to be honest about the situation, it's serious.