Tests rule out cancer in Spanish king: hospital

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Tests confirmed that Spain's King Juan Carlos I, who had a growth removed from his lung at the weekend, does not have cancer, the Barcelona hospital where he is being treated said Monday.

The 72-year-old monarch underwent surgery on Saturday to remove the growth from his right lungs. Doctors had previously said that an initial analysis showed no signs of it being cancerous.

"The full pathological analysis that was performed definitively ruled out the presence of malignant cells in the lung nodules removed," the hospital said in a statement.

The statement said the king's recovery "continues to be fully satisfactory" and he had walked around the ward and received family visits on Monday.

His wife Queen Sofia told reporters earlier Monday that the king was very well after his operation, having spent a "very good" night in hospital.

Princess Cristina, one of the king's daughters, also arrived from Washington to be by her father's bedside.

"I really wanted to see him," she said, "we spoke a lot on the telephone and he is doing perfectly."

The growth was detected on April 28 and doctors had decided it was necessary to "extract and study" the growth, a palace statement had said on Saturday.

It said the king had appeared in public Friday evening at a reception for visiting US Vice President Joe Biden and seemed to be in "perfect" health.

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 right-wing 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.

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 his son and heir, Prince Felipe, has taken a more leading role in royal affairs.

© 2010 AFP

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