French Leaders Keep Health Hush-Hush

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2009 1:19 AM CDT
Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou (1911-1974), President of France after de Gaulle, gives a speech in 1969. He died in office of leukemia.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Don't expect French President Nicolas Sarkozy to talk about being rushed to the hospital after he collapsed during a jog yesterday. If he's anything like his predecessors, he'll probably say nothing at all, reports AFP. Since 1974, when President Georges Pompidou died while in office from leukemia, French leaders have vowed to be open about their health problems—but in fact, few health updates are ever issued. Valery Giscard d'Estaing replaced Pompidou, promising regular health bulletins, yet never released one.

Francois Mitterrand took over in 1981, keeping secret the prostate cancer that eventually killed him until after his re-election in 1992. Jacques Chirac took office in 1995, and refused to discuss the "minor vascular incident" that hospitalized him that year. As for Sarkozy's health, he was released from the hospital today following a series of tests, reports AP. One official said Sarkozy's collapse was "a little incident that could happen to anyone."