Spanish king in 'wonderful' health after lung surgery: queen

8th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's King Juan Carlos I was doing "wonderfully" after surgery Saturday to remove a growth on his lung which turned out to be benign, his wife Queen Sofia said.

The 72-year-old monarch was well rested, remained conscious throughout the operation and was "in impressive health", Queen Sofia told journalists at the public hospital in Barcelona after coming from her husband's bedside.

"I am happy now that it is all over," the queen said, adding that the king would likely remain in the hospital for four or five days.

A first analysis of the small nodule growth taken from his upper right lung showed "no malignancy," Laureano Molins, a member of the king's surgical team, said at an earlier press conference, ruling out a threat of cancer.

The king "is awake and doing very well," Molins said, adding that he would be out of hospital within three or four days and back to work within two weeks, while not requiring any post-operative treatment.

A health bulletin issued later in the day said the king's condition was progressing favourably, with good cardio-respiratory responses and correct lung expansion.

He had begun a liquid diet and respiratory physiotherapy, the bulletin said, adding that there would be another in 24 hours.

The growth on King Juan Carlos's right lung was detected on April 28 and doctors had decided it was necessary to "extract and study" the growth, a palace statement said earlier.

King Juan Carlos had appeared in public Friday evening at a reception for visiting US Vice President Joe Biden and seemed to be in "perfect" health, palace spokeswoman Blanca Gisbert told AFP.

Queen Sofia said she had spoken to the couple's children Saturday and that they were coming to the hospital soon.

Prince Felipe, heir to the throne, continued his official visit to Costa Rica, while the king's elder daughter Princess Elena cancelled her participation in an equestrian competition in Valencia.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wished the king a "prompt recovery". "Things have gone well and we are very calm as we wait," he said.

Born on January 5, 1938, Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria de Borbon y Borbon became king on November 22, 1975, two days after the death of dictator general Francisco Franco.

He is considered a pillar of democratic Spain, having played a key role during the country's transition to democracy after Franco's long dictatorship and an attempted military coup d'etat in 1981.

King Juan Carlos, who likes to joke with journalists and is a keen sportsman, remains very popular in Spain where the monarchy is generally supported, except by Basque, Catalan and extreme-right separatist groups.

Spain's king is the head of the state and the armed forces, but his official role is to represent the unity of the country and to be guarantor of its institutions.

Over the last few years Prince Felipe has taken a more leading role in royal affairs.

© 2010 AFP

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