Iraqi president suffers stroke, is currently hospitalized

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 2:00am

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has suffered a stroke and was rushed to a hospital in Baghdad on Monday night, Iraqi officials said.

Talabani was in intensive care after the stroke, said Kurdish Lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, who said he was headed to the hospital to visit the ailing leader.

"His health condition is not very good," Othman said.

Though Othman and another official confirmed that Talabani had a stroke, the president's office did not immediately confirm this. Talabani's office released a statement saying that he was exhausted.

"Recently, His Excellency President Jalal Talabani spent exhaustive efforts in order to accomplish harmony and stability in the country. Due to fatigue and exhaustion, His Excellency had a health emergency," the president's office said Tuesday.

Talabani, 79, was elected president of Iraq in 2005, in the nation's first free elections in more than 50 years.

This is not the fist time he has dealt with serious medical issues. At times, the exact nature of his ailments has been shrouded in secrecy.

In February 2007, he fell ill and was flown to Jordan for treatment, and there were conflicting reports about what prompted his hospitalization.

A hospital source told CNN at the time that doctors performed a catheterization procedure on his heart, but his family and aides denied that.

Talabani's doctor and a spokesman for the president's office said then that he was suffering from exhaustion and lung inflammation, and underwent tests they described as precautionary.

He did not return to Iraq until March.

Two months later, Talabani left for medical tests and to lose weight, his office said. He did not return until June.

In January 2012, he had spinal surgery in Germany.

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