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Spanish king’s hip replacement declared a success

Spain’s 75-year-old King Juan Carlos underwent successful surgery to replace his left hip Tuesday, the palace said, as the monarch’s ailments fed speculation he may one day have to abdicate.

“His majesty’s operation concludes successfully,” the royal household said in a text message sent to journalists about two and a half hours after announcing the surgery had begun.

Surgeon Miguel Cabanela led the operation to give the king a new left hip after the previous artificial joint fitted last November became infected and painful, making it hard to walk.

Juan Carlos was operated on at the private Quiron Hospital in the western suburbs of the Spanish capital Madrid.

Juan Carlos is widely respected for his role in Spain’s transition to democracy after the death of longtime dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975 but his image has suffered particularly because of a corruption scandal implicating his youngest daughter Cristina.

Announcing news of the operation last week, the royal palace said however that Juan Carlos had at no time considered abdicating nor handing over his powers to Felipe while he recovers from surgery.