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Tony Blair's Wife Suffers a Miscarriage

Cherie Blair, the wife of the British prime minister, has suffered a miscarriage. British officials say the 47-year-old wife of Tony Blair fell ill Monday evening and was taken to nearby Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The lawyer and mother of four underwent an operation under general anesthetic and was released early Tuesday morning. It's believed she was in the early stages of pregnancy when she had the miscarriage. Ms. Blair has now returned to the prime minister's official London residence, 10 Downing Street, for a short period of convalescence.

Leading obstetrician, professor Gordon Stirrat, says above the age of 40, miscarriages become statistically more common.

"The overall rate of miscarriage is about one in seven. But, for women over 40 it increases to between one in two and one in three pregnancies."

The couple had planned to travel to France for a summer vacation but that trip has now been delayed. The Blairs have four children, aged 17, 16, 14 and two. The youngest, Leo, was born in May, 2000.

Cherie Blair was last seen in public at the closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England on Sunday night.

The leader of the opposition Conservative Party, Ian Duncan Smith, and his wife have sent a private note of sympathy to the Blairs.