Spanish king has hip replacement surgery after fall

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2012 9:28 AM

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's King Juan Carlos I underwent hip replacement surgery in Madrid on Saturday after breaking his right hip in a fall during a private trip to Botswana, the Royal Household said.

The 74-year-old monarch, who suffers osteoarthritis and had a lung operation in 2010 and knee and foot surgery in 2011, suffered a fracture "in three fragments" of the hip, a statement said.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais said on its website that the king was hunting elephants in Botswana when the accident happened.

Juan Carlos came to the throne and became head of state shortly after the death in 1975 of dictator Francisco Franco. He oversaw the tense transition to democracy and earned great and lasting respect among Spaniards by publicly condemning an attempted coup in 1981.

(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Tim Pearce)