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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Family contact: French ex-president Chirac treated for suspected case of gout in hospital

PARIS - A person close to Jacques Chirac says the former French president has been taken to a hospital near Paris with a suspected case of gout.

The source says 81-year-old conservative who has faced several health problems in recent years was taken to the American Hospital in suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine on Monday.

The source says he was taken to the hospital for tests and there was "absolutely no life-threatening urgency." The person spoke on condition that that her name not be used because she was not authorized by the family to be identified.

Gout is a painful joint disease that mainly strikes middle-aged men, though it is not typically considered life-threatening.

Chirac left office in 2007. He was hospitalized in 2005 for a vascular problem that has never been fully explained.

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