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Former Polish president Lech Walesa hospitalized

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June 9, 2011, 12:18 p.m. | World — by Associated Press

Lech Walesa, the anti-communist dissident who founded Solidarity in Poland, has been hospitalized in his hometown of Gdansk, officials said on June 9, 2011.
© AP Photo/Alik Keplicz

Lech Walesa, the anti-communist dissident who founded Solidarity in Poland, has been hospitalized in his hometown of Gdansk, officials said Thursday. The former Polish president was taken to the hospital at about noon on Wednesday, his office told The Associated Press. The reason for the unplanned visit was not given.

Lawmaker Jerzy Borowczak, a friend of Walesa's, said on TVN24 television that Walesa was running a fever of 39 degrees Celsius (102 F) and suffered from pain in the abdomen.

An aide, Piotr Gulczynski, told the AP that the situation did not appear to be serious. He said Walesa was undergoing medical tests and that he was still waiting for doctors to make a diagnosis.

Photographs of the 67-year-old Walesa, taken Wednesday night and posted on his blog, showed him standing in the hospital with nurses and doctors and lying in bed and shaking the hand of a doctor.

In 2008, U.S. surgeons fitted Walesa with a pacemaker in the hope of sparing him a heart transplant operation.

Solidarity was a national freedom movement under Walesa's leadership in the 1980s that helped peacefully bring down communism in Poland in 1989. His courage in defying communist authorities at the time earned him the 1983 Nobel peace prize.

From 1990 to 1995, he served as Poland's first popularly elected president in the post-communist era.
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