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Pope John Paul Taken to Hospital for Breathing Problems

Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night suffering from breathing problems and the flu. The chief Vatican spokesman said the Pope was hospitalized mainly as a precautionary measure

The Pope was taken to Gemelli hospital in Rome just before 11 pm local time after he suffered a breathing crisis. The Vatican said the 84-year-old Pope had an acute infection of the respiratory tract.

The Vatican's chief spokesman said it became urgent to take the Pope to hospital but also said this was a precautionary measure. The Pope is being kept under careful observation and will be underging a series of tests on Wednesday.

The Vatican is then to expected to issue a medical bulletin. It is unclear at this stage how long the doctors may decide to keep the Pope in hospital.

The pontiff has been suffering from the flu since Sunday. He was forced to cancel all his engagements over the past couple of days.