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Czech Head Havel Taken to Hospital

April 14, 1998

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ President Vaclav Havel was rushed to the hospital today while on vacation in Austria with a suspected perforation of the colon.

The 61-year-old president, who underwent surgery in December 1996 for lung cancer, left for an Easter vacation near Innsbruck, Austria, last week. Spokesman Ladislav Spacek said Havel was in pain on Monday, and a doctor was summoned today.

Havel was then taken to an Innsbruck hospital, Spacek said. He added that Havel’s personal physician, Dr. Ilja Kotik, was traveling to Innsbruck to tend to the president.

A spokesman for the University Clinic in Innsbruck confirmed that Havel was admitted today, but gave no further details.

Havel had one-third of his right lung and a half-inch malignant tumor removed during his 1996 surgery for lung cancer.

During that treatment, doctors had to perform a tracheotomy to help Havel breathe. He was hospitalized in February for throat surgery to correct problems resulting from that tracheotomy.

Havel also spent two weeks in the hospital last November with pneumonia.

Havel, a dissident playwright during Czechoslovakia’s communist rule, was elected its president in 1989. When the country split in two, he was elected the first president of the Czech Republic and was re-elected to a second five-year term in January.

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