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King Hospitalized for Irregular Heartbeat

June 11, 1991

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ King Hussein has been hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat and is in satisfactory condition, the royal palace announced today.

The announcement, carried by state-run Petra news agency, said the 54-year- old monarch was admitted to the kingdom’s army hospital, Hussein Medical City, at 10 p.m. Monday.

″His Majesty The Hashemite King Hussein, may God protect him, was admitted to hospital ... because he suffered from a case of irregular heartbeats,″ the announcement said.

It said Hussein’s condition was ″satisfactory and he is recovering.″

Palace officials were not immediately available to comment on the exact nature of Hussein’s ailment.

There are a wide variety of medical conditions that can cause an irregular heartbeat. President Bush suffered an irregular heartbeat a month ago and was subsequently diagnosed as having Graves’ disease, a thyroid ailment. He received radioactive iodine to bring it under control.

The Jordanian monarch had an irregular heartbeat in May 1990 and has had periodic heart checkups in Jordan as well as the United States and Britain.

Doctors have said Hussein quit smoking last year, on doctors’ advice. However, he started smoking again in the early days of the Persian Gulf crisis.

During the war, public sentiment in Jordan ran strongly in favor of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, causing tensions with the United States.

Doctors said they suggested that Hussein go on a diet last year, which he did. Royal palace officials have said Hussein lost 37 pounds between June and September.

Doctors also advised the monarch to refrain from undertaking ″physically draining activities.″

A direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, Hussein was named king in August 1952 as a student of 16. His father, King Talal, abdicated because of mental illness after ruling for one year following the assassination of Hussein’s grandfather, King Abdullah.

The monarch was educated in exclusive schools in the United Kingdom: Harrow and the military academy of Sandhurst.

Hussein was married four times and has 11 children.

His first marriage to Dina Abdel Hamid, his cousin, ended after she gave birth to their daughter, Princess Alia.

In 1961, Hussein married an Englishwoman, Tony Avril Gardiner, defying predictions that marrying a Westerner could diminish his popularity in the Arab world. Gardiner became a Muslim and changed her name to Muna, Arabic for desire.

That marriage lasted until 1973, when the king divorced Muna and married a Palestinian woman, Alia Touqan. In 1979, Hussein married American-born Lisa Halaby, who converted to Islam and changed her name to Noor, Arabic for light.

The king has a sister and two brothers, including the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Hassan.

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