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Uzbek President Said To Have Suffered 'Brain Hemorrhage'

File photo of President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and President of Vladimir Putin.
File photo of President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and President of Vladimir Putin.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov, whose recent hospitalization for an undisclosed illness has been shrouded in mystery, is being treated in an intensive care unit after suffering a "brain hemorrhage," according to a statement posted on his younger daughter's verified Instagram account.

"At the moment it is too early to make any predictions about his future health," read the August 29 post on Lola Tillyaeva-Karimova's Instagram account.

The post, written in Russian, Uzbek, and English, said President Karimov was admitted to the hospital on August 28, and that his "condition is considered stable."

The post called for people to "refrain from speculation" and respect the Karimov family's privacy.

The post was accompanied by a photograph, dated March 2014, featuring Karimov and his wife, Tatyana Karimova, along with Tillyaeva-Karimova, her husband, and their two children.

Tillyaeva-Karimova, Uzbekistan's Ambassador to UNESCO, is the Uzbek president's second daughter.

Karimov's elder daughter, Gulnara -- a prominent socialite and businesswoman once seen as a potential successor to her father as president -- has not appeared in public since 2014 amid reports that she had been placed under house arrest in Uzbekistan amid a corruption scandal.

The update on President Karimov's condition comes a day after the Uzbek government announced in a rare statement that the 78-year-old president had been hospitalized.

The statement didn't disclose the nature of Karimov's illness, saying only that "in the opinion of the specialists, a full medical examination and subsequent treatment will require a certain amount of time."

Karimov, a former Communist Party boss who is seen as a strong-arm leader, has ruled Uzbekistan since 1989.

According to the Uzbek Constitution, should the president of the country become unable to perform his duties, the head of the upper chamber of parliament, the Senate, would assume the president's authority for a period of three months.

It is not clear who is currently leading Uzbekistan. No public comments have come from Senate Chairman Nigmatulla Yuldashev, who has led the upper house of parliament since January 2015.

News of Karimov's illness has sparked speculation about possible successors to lead Central Asia's most populous country.

Karimov's handpicked prime minister, Shavkat Mirziyaev, who has held his post since 2003, is seen as one candidate, as are Finance Minister Rustam Azimov and National Security Committee head Rustam Inoyatov.

Written by Farangis Najibullah with reporting by AFP and AP

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    Farangis Najibullah

    Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who has reported on a wide range of topics from Central Asia, including the region’s ongoing struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. She has extensively covered efforts by Central Asian states to repatriate their citizens who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.