July 26, 2009 / 1:18 PM / 10 years ago

France's Sarkozy rushed to hospital

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy was rushed to hospital on Sunday after falling ill while jogging and will stay there overnight to undergo cardiological tests, officials said.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech about the nation's maritime policy in the port city of Le Havre July 16, 2009. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The 54-year-old did not lose consciousness but had to lie down before being helicoptered to the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris.

Neurological tests after the episode were normal, his office said, and “routine” cardiological examinations would be carried out.

“When he was jogging in the park of the Chateau of Versailles, the president was taken ill,” his office said in a statement.

“This episode, which happened after 45 minutes of intensive physical exercise, was not accompanied by a loss of consciousness.”

His doctor was nearby and attended to him immediately.

Sarkozy has canceled an event on Monday and a decision will be taken on his Tuesday schedule. He is due to preside over the last cabinet meeting before a summer break on Wednesday morning.

Television and radio quoted a source close to Sarkozy president as saying that he had suffered from an “vagal problem,” which can be linked to a fall in blood pressure, a lower heart rate and fainting.

This was not mentioned in the statement.

His wife, the singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, was at his side in the hospital. Prime Minister Francois Fillon returned to Paris from his constituency to the west of the French capital.

The pavement outside the hospital had a heavy police presence and was closed to traffic.


French presidential health problems have traditionally been kept almost secret from the French public but Sarkozy promised to provide regular health updates when he took office.

The results of a health check were released on July 3 which said he had undergone blood and cardiovascular tests and the results were normal. No such results were issued in 2008.

Sarkozy, who took office in May 2007, was briefly hospitalized in October that year but the information was not made public at the time. The episode was revealed in a book and confirmed by his office in January 2008.

President Francois Mitterrand was diagnosed with cancer not long after being elected in 1981, but did not reveal the information until after an operation in 1992.

Sarkozy is a keen jogger and cyclist and has frequently been photographed and filmed while exercising. He was spotted in shorts and running shoes jogging with his wife in New York’s Central Park earlier this month.

They also share a personal trainer, Julie Imperiali.

Writing by Anna Willard; editing by Andrew Roche. Additional reporting by Clement Guillou, Emmanuel Jarry and Thierry Leveque

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