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Sunday, September 19, 1999 Published at 04:35 GMT 05:35 UK


Ronnie Biggs suffers another stroke

Ronnie Biggs celebrates his 70th birthday in Rio de Janeiro

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is recovering in hospital after suffering a minor stroke.

The BBC's Neil Jacques: "Biggs is in good spirits and is due to be released soon"
The 70-year-old fugitive from justice, who suffered a stroke last year, was admitted to Quartocentenario Hospital in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday after feeling "unwell".

His publicist Max Markson said: "He has been taken to hospital for rest and for him to be checked out. It is not serious and he is under observation.

"He just felt unwell, called the doctors and they admitted him. He had a stroke last year so they are just being a bit careful with him. It is not as bad as the stroke last year."

34 years on the run

Mr Markson said Biggs was in good spirits.

Biggs escaped from a London prison in 1965 after serving 15 months of a 30-year sentence for his part in the £2.6m Great Train Robbery. He fled to Australia, ended up in Rio and, after marrying a local woman and fathering a child, could not be extradited under Brazilian law.

A friend of Biggs, who answered the phone at his Rio home but declined to be named, said: "He had a minor stroke. It is nothing like the one he had last year. He is on the road to recovery and will be home soon."

Biggs recently completed a 30-second commercial for a hair replacement treatment, which will be shown worldwide.

Last month Biggs celebrated his 70th birthday with several friends from the London underworld who flew out to Brazil.

They celebrated with 20 kilos of sausages, 20 kilos of chicken and 15 kilos of rumpsteak.

At the time he said: "As a result of the (1998) stroke I am only supposed to have one glass of red wine a day.

"I might stretch it to two today."

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