Samaranch in serious condition
21 April 2010
Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch is in "very serious" condition in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Barcelona.
The 89-year-old Spaniard was admitted Sunday after experiencing heart trouble and soon after went into shock, Quiron Hospital chief of internal medicine Rafael Esteban said Tuesday at a news conference. He says Samaranch is sedated and on a respirator.
Samaranch has been diagnosed with "acute coronary insufficiency," said Esteban, adding it is a good sign the former IOC head has survived almost 48 hours but that it is hard to be optimistic of a recovery.
"We cannot be optimistic, because at his age and with the chronic problems he has, one cannot be optimistic," Esteban said.
Samaranch's heart problems were unexpected as he had visited a gym to exercise on Sunday morning, Esteban said.
Samaranch, who headed the IOC from 1980-2001, has been bothered by health problems in recent years. He was hospitalised for 11 days in Switzerland in 2001 with "extreme fatigue" after returning from an IOC session in Moscow, where Jacques Rogge was elected as his successor.
He was also hospitalised shortly afterward in Barcelona for what was described as high blood pressure. He has received regular dialysis treatment for kidney trouble.
Samaranch spent two days in a hospital in Madrid in 2007 after a dizzy spell, and underwent hospital checks in Monaco in October after feeling ill at a sports conference.
Samaranch retired as the second-longest serving president in the history of the IOC.
Even in retirement, Samaranch remained active in Olympic circles and tried to help Madrid secure the 2012 and 2016 Games. Madrid finished third behind winner London and Paris in the 2005 vote for the 2012 Olympics, and second to Rio de Janeiro for 2016.
Although Samaranch helped propel the popularity and riches of the Olympics to unprecedented levels during his time at the helm, he left still bearing the scars of the scandal that led to the ouster of 10 IOC members for receiving improper benefits from the 2002 Salt Lake City bid committee.