Factbox: Venezuela's Chavez latest leader treated for cancer

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2011 1:15 PM
Factbox: Venezuela's Chavez latest leader treated for cancer

(Reuters) - Venezuela's socialist leader Hugo Chavez's disclosure from Cuba that he has cancer shook the country he has long dominated, but he said he would be home "soon".

Chavez, 56, did not detail June 10 surgery in Havana, prompting speculation the cancer may have spread. He will miss events marking Venezuela's 200th anniversary of independence on July 5.

Chavez supporters vowed to push on with his self-styled revolution following his announcement on Thursday. Vice President Elias Jaua said Chavez remains in full power.

Following are details of some past world leaders who have suffered from cancer while in office:

* Paraguay President Fernando Lugo was diagnosed in August 2010 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. Lugo was said last November to be in remission. He is due to finish his term in 2013.

* Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson, who had been ill with pancreatic cancer, died in October 2010. He was 48. His deputy was quickly sworn in to take charge of the Caribbean island's government.

* French President Francois Mitterand was diagnosed with cancer not long after being elected in 1981. He did not reveal it for more than a decade. Mitterrand completed two seven-year terms to become France's longest-serving president, but was very weak in his final months in power. He died in 1996.

* French President Georges Pompidou died in office in 1974 of a rare form of cancer called Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. His death was a shock to the public, who had been told the president was suffering from recurrent bouts of flu. He died at in an era when talk of the president's health was taboo.

* Iran's Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi suffered from a form of leukemia for many years. In 1979, the U.S. government allowed the deposed leader into the United States for treatment, shortly before the American Embassy was seized in Tehran. He died a year later in exile in Egypt.

* Czech President Vaclav Havel, a heavy smoker, had surgery in 1996 to remove part of his cancerous right lung. He was reelected two years later and stepped down in 2003 at the conclusion of his term. Havel was hospitalized last March after another bout of chronic respiratory illness.

* U.S. President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery in 1985 to remove cancerous polyps from his colon. The surgery lasted just under three hours and Reagan resumed the powers of the presidency later that day.

(Sources: Reuters/www.britannica.com)

(Writing by David Cutler; London Editorial Reference Unit;)