Samaranch in hospital

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BARCELONA, April 21- Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, 89, has been admitted to a Barcelona hospital suffering from severe heart trouble and his prognosis is "very bad", a hospital spokesman said on Tuesday."He is suffering from acute coronary insufficiency and his prognosis is very bad," a spokesman for Barcelona’s Quiron Hospital told AFP.

In a statement, the hospital’s chief of internal medicine Rafael Esteban said Samaranch was under "intensive observation," adding that "given his age, we can’t be optimistic".

Estaban, who said there had been no change in Samaranch’s condition in the hours following his admission to hospital, went on: "We are in a serious situation right now awaiting developments in the hours ahead to determine what possibility of recovery exists."

Esteban noted that Samaranch had shown admirable powers of recovery after previous bouts of illness and told reporters there would be a further medical bulletin on Wednesday afternoon.

Samaranch was head of the IOC from 1980 to 2001. Only Pierre de Coubertin, the ‘father’ of the modern Olympics and IOC chief from 1896 to 1925, has held the post longer.

Samaranch is credited with commercialising the Olympics by allowing athletes to embrace professionalism.

He is now an honorary life president of the body that runs the Olympics and remains active in Spanish sports administration.

In recent years he was a key part of Madrid’s failed bids to hold the Olympics in 2012, which London eventually won, and 2016, which went to Rio de Janeiro.

"I know that I am very near the end of my time. I am 89 years old," he said in October 2009 before asking the IOC members for the honour of hosting the 2016 Games in Spain during Madrid’s bid presentation in Copenhagen.

Samaranch has been hospitalised several times in recent years, most recently in Monaco in 2009 after he fainted.

He was taken to hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland for "extreme fatigue" on July 17, 2001, his 81st birthday, shortly after he stepped down as IOC head and in Barcelona in 2007 for high blood pressure.

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