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The BBC's David Willis
"This is clearly a critical time for him"
 real 56k

Saturday, 13 January, 2001, 17:27 GMT
Reagan 'fine' after surgery
Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Nancy is by her husband's bedside
Former American President Ronald Reagan has undergone an operation on the hip he broke in a fall at his home at Santa Monica, in California, on Friday.

Spokeswoman Joanne Drake said he was in a recovery room and "everything's fine".

Surgeons at St John's Health Center in Santa Monica inserted a pin in Mr Reagan's hip.

Ronald Reagan
Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981
He could be discharged within 10 days and walking again with assistance in about two weeks.

Surgeon Dr Kevin Ehrhart, said: "He remained in stable condition throughout the procedure and he remains in stable condition presently in his hospital room."

Former first lady Nancy Reagan was at her husband's side throughout almost all of his stay at the hospital.

Mr Reagan, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, will be 90 next month.

In 1981 he survived an assassination attempt that put a bullet near his heart, and had surgery for colon cancer in 1985 and prostate and skin cancer in 1987.

Hollywood to White House

Since making a public statement that he was suffering from Alzheimer's in 1994, the former Hollywood actor has lived largely in seclusion.

His memories of his time as president, and his ability to recognize family and friends, have since then been slipping fast, according to press reports.

Born in Illinois, Mr Reagan headed to Hollywood, featuring in 50 films.

He first become involved in politics as a Democrat but his political career took off as a Republican, when he won election as California governor in 1966 and again 1970.

In a November 1980 presidential election, he stood as Republican candidate defeating Jimmy Carter.

Mr Reagan secured re-election by a wide margin in 1984.

In January 1989 was able to hand over the White House to fellow Republican George Bush, father of US President-elect George W Bush.

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See also:

08 Sep 00 | Americas
Reagan letters reveal tender side
25 Sep 99 | Americas
Reagan biography: Fact or fiction?
02 Mar 99 | Americas
Reagan for Rushmore
20 Dec 00 | A-B
Alzheimer's disease
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