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Former PM John Howard undergoes emergency operation for appendicitis

Former Prime Minister John Howard has undergone an emergency operation after suffering appendicitis in Sydney.

The  81-year-old was taken to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Private Hospital earlier today and has now had surgery. 

A spokesperson for Mr Howard’s office has said he is recovering well after the procedure. 

The spokesperson told Nine News there was no immediate concern for his health. 

The former statesman was taken to hospital by ambulance after visiting his GP in Sydney on Monday. 

His wife Jeanette has gone to the hospital to be with him. 

A spokeswoman told the Daily Telegraph that Mr Howard had a sudden attack of appendicitis.

‘He has been operated on and is recovering well. He thanks everyone for their good wishes and particularly thanks the staff at Royal North Shore Private for their excellent care,’ the spokeswoman said.

Mr Howard was prime minister from 1996 to 2007, which is the second longest term as national leader behind only Sir Robert Menzies who spent just over 18 years in office in separate two terms between 1939 and 1966. 

He is the oldest living former prime minister after the death of Labor leader Bob Hawke last year. 

Five years ago the former Liberal Party leader was treated for blocked arteries at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and had two stents inserted. 

On his 80th birthday last year, he said: ‘I feel the same as I did yesterday. 

‘I’m very happy to be alive and to have had the privilege of being born in Australia.’ 

As Prime Minister, John Howard’s most notable achievements include bringing in new gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre and introducing the nationwide value-added tax called the GST.

Mr Howard led the Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989 and again from 1995 to 2007, and is widely respected as the party’s elder statesman.

Mr Howard led the Liberal-National coalition to victory in four consecutive elections before being defeated by Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party in 2007. 

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