Flu fuels Gus Dur stroke rumour

A FLU forcing President Abdurrahman Wahid to cancel the last events of his official programme in Canada, and rumours of an unscheduled plane stop in Nevada, led to speculation here yesterday that he had suffered a light stroke en route to South Korea.

But government officials and members of his family said they had not been told of any medical emergency. “I think I would be the first to be told if he’s had a stroke,” the President’s youngest brother, Mr Hasyim Wahid, said last night.

He picked up the first rumours of an alleged stroke at about 10.30 am yesterday – before the entourage was to leave Vancouver for Seoul – and spoke to him on the telephone to reassure himself.

“I know his tone of voice. He sounded like himself. He had to cancel some programmes earlier because it was too cold,” he said, adding that the President was travelling with four personal doctors.

But he did not know why the Garuda charter flight – which was to refuel in Seoul before heading to Jakarta – might have stopped in Nevada. Nor was he able to re-establish contact late last night.

In Jakarta, government officials said they had learnt from their own checks that he was suffering from a flu or was “just exhausted” – nothing more serious than that.

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