France's Sarkozy Released from Hospital After Collapse

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been discharged from the military hospital where he spent the night and his office says the leader's collapse while jogging was due to heat and overwork. Video by AP
By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, July 27, 2009; 8:47 AM

PARIS, July 27 -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy left a military hospital Monday after overnight observation for a fainting spell that occurred as he jogged near the Versailles Palace in hot summer weather.

Sarkozy's office described the collapse, which occurred Sunday afternoon, as a minor "lipotropic episode" due to general fatigue and strenuous exercise in the 84-degree heat. They said he had never lost consciousness.

Doctors, however, have recommended that Sarkozy curtail his schedule in the coming days to allow more rest.

The president, 54, was seen shaking hands with hospital staff as he left with his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, at his side. He showed no signs of difficulty in walking but made no statement to reporters waiting at the entrance to the Val de Grace military hospital in downtown Paris.

A planned trip Tuesday to Mont Saint-Michel, in western France, was called off, the Elysee Palace said. Sarkozy was due to begin a summer vacation in any case later this week, retreating to a villa owned by his wife's family on the Riviera.

Sarkozy, short and compact, has often been seen jogging, which along with cycling is his favorite form of exercise. He was photographed trotting in Central Park last weekend while in New York to watch his wife sing in a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The Elysee Palace published a health bulletin early this month saying Sarkozy had undergone routine cardiovascular and other tests and was found to be in normal health. About six months after taking office in May 2007, Sarkozy was briefly hospitalized with a throat infection. That incident was not revealed at the time, despite a pledge from Sarkozy to keep the French public informed on his health. But it was reported in a book and later confirmed by his spokesmen.

Presidential health has long been a delicate subject in France. Presidents Georges Pompidou in the 1970s and Fran├žois Mitterrand in the 1990s concealed serious cancer problems for months, recognizing their illnesses only when they became obvious.

Staff writer David Brown in Washington contributed to this report.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company