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Statement regarding Dr LEE Jong-wook

Director-General, World Health Organization

21 May 2006

Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization, remains in hospital following surgery on Saturday.

Dr Lee suddenly fell ill on Saturday afternoon while he was attending an official function. He was taken to the Cantonal Hospital in Geneva by ambulance. He had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.

WHO and Dr Lee's family are grateful for the kind wishes which have been sent by friends and colleagues from around the world.

WHO continues to request that full respect be accorded for the privacy of Dr Lee and his family.

The business of the World Health Assembly, WHO's policy-making body attended by its 192 Member States, will continue as scheduled from 22-27 May.

WHO will regularly provide updates on Dr Lee's situation.


Dr Lee, a national of the Republic of Korea, has been Director-General of the World Health Organization since 21 July, 2003. He has worked for WHO for 23 years, at country and regional levels, and at WHO Headquarters in Geneva.

He is 61 years old and has been in good health. He is married, and has one son.

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For more information contact:

Christine McNab
Communications Officer
Director-General's office
Telephone: +41 79 254 6815

Iain Simpson
Communications Officer
Director-General's office
Telephone: +41 79 475 5534