Pope John Paul II has flu, taken to hospital

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Pope John Paul II has been taken to hospital and is suffering from a "breathing crisis", the Vatican has confirmed.

The Vatican said in a statement that the Pope, 84, is suffering from an acute respiratory infection. He was admitted to the Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital at 2300 local time (2200 UTC).

According to the Vatican the Pontiff is suffering from an acute inflammation of the larynx as well as laryngo-spasms that constrict the lung's intake of air. He was diagnosed with a severe flu three days ago and taken to Gamelli as a precaution.

The Pope is no stranger to Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital. In 1981 he was taken there after being shot in the abdomen by Mehmet Ali Agca and he has been re-admitted at least three times since.

Although the Vatican usually does not comment on the pontiff's state of health, it is widely known that the Pope suffers from Parkinson's disease, and chronic joint problems.