Skip to main content

Iraq's president in stable condition, office says

From Saad Abedine, CNN
December 19, 2012 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is shown on January 23, 2010, in Baghdad. A lawmaker says he is in intensive care.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is shown on January 23, 2010, in Baghdad. A lawmaker says he is in intensive care.
  • Talabani's office says he's in stable condition
  • A lawmaker and other official say he had a stroke; office blames 'hardening of the arteries'
  • Talabani, 79, was elected president of Iraq in 2005
  • He has left the country several times for medical issues

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was in stable condition late Tuesday after he was rushed to a Baghdad hospital Monday night, his office said.

In a statement issued Tuesday night, the president's office said tests "have shown that the health status of His Excellency was caused by hardening of the arteries."

"The tests also showed that the body functions are normal and the health status of the president is stable," the statement said. "He is subject to focused medical attention under the supervision of a specialized Iraqi medical team."

But an Iraqi Kurdish lawmaker close to Talabani said earlier that the 79-year-old leader had suffered a stroke.

"His health condition is not very good," said Mahmoud Othman, who said he was headed to the hospital to visit Talabani earlier Tuesday.

Othman said Talabani was in intensive care. Another official said Talabani had a stroke, but the president's office had released a statement earlier saying that he was exhausted.

"Recently, His Excellency President Jalal Talabani spent exhaustive efforts in order to accomplish harmony and stability in the country. Due to fatigue and exhaustion, His Excellency had a health emergency," the president's office said Tuesday.

Also read: More than two dozen dead in second day of Iraq violence

Talabani was elected president of Iraq in 2005, in the nation's first free elections in more than 50 years. This is not the first time he has dealt with serious medical issues, and at times, the exact nature of his ailments have been shrouded in secrecy.

In February 2007, he fell ill and was flown to Jordan for treatment, and there were conflicting reports about what prompted his hospitalization. A hospital source told CNN at the time that doctors performed a catheterization procedure on his heart, but his family and aides denied that.

Talabani's doctor and a spokesman for the president's office said then that he was suffering from exhaustion and lung inflammation, and underwent tests they described as precautionary.

He did not return to Iraq until March.

Two months later, Talabani left for medical tests and to lose weight, his office said. He did not return until June.

In January 2012, he had spinal surgery in Germany.

Read more: Iraqi vice president predicts return to sectarian violence

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.