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Former DPP legislator suffers stroke

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former opposition lawmaker Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) was hospitalized after a cerebral stroke rendered him unconscious yesterday.

Known for his agility and physical vigor even at the age of 78, Chai's stroke shocked many, and he was sent to National Taiwan University Hospital to undergo surgery.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) noted that Chai had suffered from a serious cerebral stroke that left him with a cranial hemorrhage. “The surgery may last for three hours, and his chances of recovery may be slim even after the operation,” said Hsu, who relayed statements by Chai's physician.

Chai's foreign helper yesterday morning found him unconscious in a chair and called Chai's driver for help, said Hsu. The driver then contacted the management of Formosa TV, which Chai had helped establish, and dialed 119 to summon an ambulance.

DPP legislators registered their shock over the news of Chai's stroke, saying that they had never thought Chai would be one to fall ill, as he was keen on exercise and kept a healthy diet. Neurologists explained the possibility of Chai's stroke by noting that it may have been induced by his age and his family's medical history. People are prone to strokes as they age, and the recent drop in temperature may have helped precipitate a stroke as well, the doctors added.

Su and several legislators headed to the hospital to visit Chai after receiving the news. Su declined to comment on Chai's recent condition, simply saying that he was “shocked “and called for the public to keep warm in cold weather.

According to Hsu, Chai's doctor had assessed the risks involved in an operation, and predicted that Chai's recovery would take a long time. “Let us pray for him,” said Hsu in a brief statement.

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