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Raisa Gorbachev being treated for leukemia

Raisa Gorbachev, the wife of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is suffering from acute leukemia, the director of the German hospital where she is being treated said Wednesday.

Mrs. Gorbachev, 67, is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for serious leukemia and is in a very weakened condition, said Dr. Karl Rahn of the University Clinic in Muenster. It was too early to tell how long she would have to undergo the treatment, Rahn said.

The Gorbachevs sought out the German hospital because the facility has professional contacts with doctors in Moscow, the Westfaelische Nachrichten newspaper in Muenster reported.

Gorbachev has been with his wife every day in the hospital and has rented hotel rooms for himself, his daughter and grandchildren to be near her, the newspaper said.

A day before Rahn's announcement, Vladimir Polyakov of the private Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow said Mrs. Gorbachev was being treated for a "serious blood disease" but declined to further describe her condition. Hospital spokeswoman Jutta Reiseng said on Tuesday that Mrs. Gorbachev, who was admitted on July 25, was undergoing a general checkup.

Mrs. Gorbachev, a former philosophy instructor, was the first wife of a Soviet leader to lead a public life, basking in the limelight at home and abroad.

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