Ex-French president Jacques Chirac hospitalized - gov't source
Jacques Chirac, who has been in poor health for several years, was hospitalized Monday near Paris for a suspected flare of gout, sources close to the former French president said.
An AFP reporter saw an ambulance and police motorbikes in front of the 81-year-old former president's home at 8:00 pm (1900 GMT).
He was later checked into the American Hospital of Paris in the plush suburb of Neuilly, a government source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
A member of Chirac's inner circle said there was no cause for alarm. "There is absolutely no vital emergency. We suspect an acute episode of gout."
Gout is a painful joint disease that mainly strikes middle-aged men, though it is not typically considered life-threatening.
Chirac was hospitalized in 2005 for a vascular problem that has never been fully explained. He underwent successful kidney surgery in December.
He was France's president from 1995 to 2007 and twice previously served as prime minister. He is considered one of the most popular politicians in recent French history.
Voice of Russia, AFP