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Iraqi President treated for exhaustion in Jordan, son says

Story Highlights

Talabani's office releases statement: "No need to worry."
Talabani's son denies father had a heart attack
• White House says they arranged medically equipped plane for Jordan flight
• Talabani's family went with him on the trip
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani fell ill and was flown from northern Iraq to neighboring Jordan on Sunday for treatment of what his son called "fatigue and exhaustion coupled with dehydration."

A doctor in the northern city of Sulaimaniya told CNN that Talabani became dizzy and experienced low blood pressure on Sunday morning.

His office assured Iraqis there was "no need to worry" about his health.

In a written statement, Talabani's office said he became sick "as a result of the hard and continuing work of the past few days."

Talabani "is in stable condition, and we hope he will come back to this country in a safe and healthy way," the statement said.

Talabani's son called reports that his father may have suffered a heart attack or a stroke "completely false."

He said the longtime Kurdish leader's departure from Iraq for Jordan's capital Amman should not be interpreted as an indication that his health is grave.

"It's quite regular and quite normal for senior Iraqi politicians to receive checkups or medical treatment outside of Iraq; I don't think that this is too big of an issue," Qubad Talabani said.

The Iraqi president walked onto and off of the plane that took him to Amman, was continuing to work and had to be persuaded to seek medical care, his son said.

"He was saying he was fine," the son told CNN from Colorado. "He's absolutely up and about, being able to communicate and eat food."

He described the trip to Jordan as a "precautionary measure" and said his father never lost consciousness. "He was just very weak and very faint."

A senior U.S. military official said the U.S. understanding is that Talabani had a heart attack. Doctors at Jordan's King Hussein hospital in Amman released no information.

But Dr. Shirka Abdullah, the head of Sulaimaniya's health department, said Talabani complained of feeling weak and dizzy shortly after noon Sunday (4 a.m. ET).

He said tests ruled out a stroke, and though Talabani protested that he was feeling fine, doctors insisted that he go to Amman for further tests.

And Qubad Talabani said his father underwent "numerous" scans, which showed his heart to be in good condition.

Talabani, 73, is head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two main parties that controls Iraqi Kurdistan.

The White House said it provided an airplane equipped with medical equipment to fly Talabani to Amman, where he arrived about 8 p.m.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, was flown to Amman, Jordan, for medical treatment on Sunday.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide
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