Former president Peres suffers mild heart attack, ‘doing well’

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Statesman, 92, taken to Sheba Medical Center after paramedic determines irregular heart beat, spokesperson says

Former president Shimon Peres, seen during an interview in his office in the Peres Center for Peace, Tel Aviv, September 29, 2014 (photo credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)Former president Shimon Peres, seen during an interview in his office in the Peres Center for Peace, Tel Aviv, September 29, 2014 (photo credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Former president and prime minister Shimon Peres was admitted Thursday morning to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer after complaining of chest pains. Doctors said he suffered a mild heart attack.

Ayelet Frish, Peres’s aide and spokeswoman, said the 92-year-old former statesman was taken to the hospital after he woke up “and felt pains in his chest.”

“The paramedic in his security detail determined an irregular heart beat,” she said in a statement.

After an EKG test and consultation with Rafi Walden, Peres’s personal doctor and son-in-law, an ambulance was called to take him to Tel Hashomer, Army Radio reported.

Walden told Army Radio that Peres had suffered a “mild heart attack.”

Once admitted, Peres underwent a cardiac angioplasty, an emergency but common procedure, after a narrowed coronary artery was found. The artery was successfully expanded during the procedure and Peres was “feeling well,” according to his office.

Peres is expected to stay in hospital for a “few days” and then return to normal activities, Walden said.

“His heart is strong,” said his son Chemi, noting that this father did not lose consciousness at any point. “He’s full of energy.”

His daughter, Zvia, complained that news of his hospitalization had been reported so rapidly and prominently, asserting that it should have been a private matter until the family was ready to publicize it.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks with outgoing president, Shimon Peres, after being sworn in as the tenth president of Israel in a ceremony at the Knesset Plenum on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Photo credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)

President Reuven Rivlin speaks with outgoing president, Shimon Peres, after being sworn in as the tenth president of Israel in a ceremony at the Knesset Plenum on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Photo credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)

Peres’s presidential successor, Reuven Rivlin, telephoned Peres in the hospital to wish him well. The conversation began with Peres politely asking Rivlin about his health, Army Radio reported.

Two weeks ago rumors flooded the Internet that Peres, who has remained active despite his age, had died. A spokesman quashed the claims, poking fun at the reports.

“Shimon Peres would like to clarify that he is alive and well,” a statement from his office said. “The only thing preoccupying him at this moment is his dinner.”

The rumors of Peres’s death spread in various WhatsApp groups, which frequently report false news.

Peres, now retired, had a 55-year political career, most recently as Israel’s president from 2007 to 2014. He served as prime minister twice — from 1984 to 1986 as part of a rotational government, and in 1995 after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. He spent most of his career in the Labor party.

He had been set to take part Thursday in the third annual Ladino festival, being held this week in Tel Aviv.






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