Sharon leaves hospital after mild stroke
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A grinning Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon walked out of a Jerusalem hospital Tuesday, less than 48 hours after suffering a mild stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain.
Sharon joked with the throng of waiting reporters, "Apparently, you've missed me."
The 77-year-old prime minister thanked his doctors and said the outpouring of support by Israelis buoyed him up.
"I was very touched by the reactions of Israeli citizens, touched by their concern. They worry about my health," Sharon said.
Still grinning ear to ear, Sharon dismissed reporters, saying, "I have to get a move on and get back to work and move forward."
Sharon's doctors expect the prime minister to make a full recovery and disputed media reports about his condition when he was brought to the hospital Sunday night.
"The prime minister never lost consciousness," Tamir Ben Hur, head of neurology at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, said Monday.
"There was no slurring. He was not confused. He suffered from a certain difficulty in speaking. A small blood clot briefly blocked a blood vessel in his brain."
Ben Hur said the clot was dissolved by medication, adding, "Our comprehensive investigation has shown definitely that the stroke will not leave any damage or traces."
Sharon is running for a third term as prime minister, and many Israelis feel he is the only Israeli leader capable of carrying forward with peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
The elections are scheduled for March 28.
Asked how likely it is that Sharon could suffer another stroke, Ben Hur said, "Of course he is now receiving treatment against blood clotting and has excellent chances of it not recurring.
"There's an excellent chance it won't repeat itself," Ben Hur said. "After a rest, he can return to full functioning."
The prime minister held many of his usual meetings Monday morning, huddling at the hospital with his military and government secretaries.
Sharon, who is overweight, has never released his medical records. He has said he has no major medical problems.
Nicknamed "The Bulldozer" for his stamina during meetings and long working hours, he had not been in ill health. The popular military and political figure is widowed and lives alone.
He recently broke with the conservative Likud party he helped found -- which did not support his pullout from Gaza and parts of the West Bank -- and is running for re-election as head of the moderate, newly formed Kadima Party.
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