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German ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl 'doing well considering the circumstances'

Germany's former chancellor, Helmut Kohl, is currently convalescing in a Heidelberg hospital following two operations. His office has now confirmed the media reports, but has not said whether he is in intensive care.

Germany's former 85-year-old Chancellor Helmut Kohl was being

closely monitored in a hospital in Heidelberg

on Tuesday, German media said.

German press agency DPA quoted people close to him as saying that Kohl's condition was "very serious," but reports emerged from Kohl's Berlin office, which said the Christian Democrat leader was "doing well considering the circumstances."

His office also released a statement saying: "It is correct that [the former chancellor] had a hip operation at the beginning of May, which he recovered from well. Subsequently, an additional operation was required, which caused him to extend his stay at the clinic. Under the circumstances,

Dr. Helmut Kohl

is doing well. He will be sent to physical therapy for his new hip soon and will combine the visit with his vacation."

News of Kohl's ill-health was first revealed by the magazine "Bunte" on Tuesday, which said the former Christian Democrat leader's condition was critical. "Spiegel Online" also confirmed the news, indicating that he had been in intensive care for three weeks.

Following his hip operation in early May, Kohl told the "Bild" newspaper that he was satisfied and wanted to "go home as soon as possible."

The leader suffered a severe injury to his brain and skull after a knee operation in 2008. He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since and cannot speak properly.

'A great European'

Helmut Kohl served as chancellor between 1982 and 1998 – first as chancellor of the former West Germany, then leading the country through its period of reunification.

Kohl - described in November 2014 as a "great European" by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker - is also credited with championing European unity and setting the euro currency into motion.

Despite an expenses scandal in 1999, which saw Kohl toppled from his role as the head of the conservative CDU, he is still widely remember for his role in German reunification.

Chancellor Merkel has praised his efforts in the past, saying he was successful in building trust "from Washington to Paris, London and Brussels to Moscow."

"This chancellor of trust was, for us Germans, a blessing," she added in an address on

the ex-chancellor's 85th birthday on April 3.

mg/kms (dpa, AFP)

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