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Samaranch in 'very serious' condition

Published:Wednesday | April 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, is in a "very serious" condition in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Barcelona.

Quiron Hospital chief of internal medicine Rafael Esteban said yesterday that the 89-year-old Spaniard was under observation for heart problems.

"Mr Juan Antonio Samaranch Torello has been admitted to the Quiron Hospital of Barcelona with an acute coronary insufficiency," Esteban said in a statement. "He is currently in intensive care and his prognosis is very serious."

Samaranch, who headed the IOC from 1980-2001, has been bothered by health problems in recent years. He was hospitalised for 11 days in Switzerland in 2001 with "extreme fatigue" after returning from an IOC session in Moscow, where Jacques Rogge was elected as his successor.

He was also hospitalised shortly afterward in Barcelona for what was described as high blood pressure. He has received regular dialysis treatment for kidney trouble.

Samaranch spent two days in a hospital in Madrid in 2007 after a dizzy spell, and underwent hospital checks in Monaco in October after feeling ill at a sports conference.

Samaranch retired as the second-longest serving president in the history of the IOC.

Even in retirement, Samaranch remained active in Olympic circles, and tried to help Madrid secure the 2012 and 2016 Games. Madrid finished third behind winner London and Paris in the 2005 vote for the 2012 Olympics, and second to Rio de Janeiro for 2016.