Havel's health improving in hospital -spokeswoman

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011 13:58 GMT

PRAGUE, March 15 (Reuters) - Former Czech President Vaclav Havel's health has improved after spending a week in hospital with another bout of a chronic respiratory illness, a hospital spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

No date has been set for his release but treatment of the 74-year-old playwright was going according to plan, said Jitka Zinke, spokeswoman at the Czech Central Military Hospital.

"No complications have occurred, so there is improvement in his health," she said. Havel's health suffered when he was jailed in the 1980s for his opposition to then-Czechoslovakia's communist rulers, and he has been seriously ill several times in the past two decades.

In 1996, the former chain smoker lost half a lung to cancer.

Havel became Czechoslovak president following the end of communist rule in 1989. He led the Czech Republic for a decade from 1993, when the country peacefully split with Slovakia.

Havel has supported human rights around the world since leaving office. His only play since the end of communism, "Leaving", was staged in 2008 and a film version of the play directed by Havel is due to premiere on March 22. (Reporting by Roman Gazdik, Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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