Helmut Schmidt has heart attack
HAMBURG, Germany -- Former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt is recovering after undergoing heart surgery.
The 83-year-old received an emergency bypass operation at the University Hospital in Kiel after suffering a major heart attack at the weekend. A hospital spoksman said on Tuesday his condition was stable and that he was recovering.
Schmidt served as postwar Germany's second Social Democrat chancellor from 1974 until 1982, when his government was brought down by a coalition split.
He is still involved with the ruling Social Democrats under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and remains a public figure. He also co-publishes the weekly newspaper Die Zeit and appeared in a televised interview as recently as last week.
Earlier this year, the elder statesman made headlines over comments he made in a book about the immigration debate.
He said there were far too many foreigners in his country and that they could not be assimilated because his compatriots were "racist deep down."
He wrote: "Due to idealistic convictions which were formed on the experience of the Third Reich, we allowed in far too many foreigners. That was something we did not have to do."
"We Germans are unable to assimilate these seven million foreigners. The Germans in fact don't want to, because they are fundamentally xenophobic at heart."
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