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Cyprus defence minister's health worsens, “irreversible”, President by his side

22 March, 2014

The health of defence minister Tasos Mitsopoulos has deteriorated overnight with doctors at Nicosia General Hospital saying on Saturday morning it was “irreversible”.

President Nicos Anastasiades, who cut short his meeting at the European leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday to be by the side of his 49-year-old protégé, returned to the hospital on Saturday to be briefed by the physicians and his close political aides, as well as the minister's wife, journalist Katerina Vati.

Mitsopoulos was found lying in his office by his staff on Friday morning and was rushed to hospital. He had just received the Greek ambassador and was about to see the U.S. ambassador.

Doctors said he suffered a ruptured aneurysm and brain hemorrhage. He was operated to relieve the pressure on his brain, but remained in a critical situation.

Specialist surgeons were flown in from Israel and Greece, two countries with which Cyprus enjoys very close relations in all fields.

Mitsopoulos had undertaken his new portfolio having served as Transport Minister for a year. He has been a very close associate to the president and had been his spokesman for more than a decade.

A distraught President Anastasiades said he felt “like anyone who felt he was losing such a close person.”