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French President Collapses, Is Rushed To Hospital

President Nicolas Sarkozy (in file photo) reportedly collapsed while jogging.
PARIS (Reuters) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy was rushed to hospital after collapsing while jogging, officials said.

Television and radio quoted a source close to 54-year-old president as saying that he had suffered from an "vagal problem that was considered to be minor."

Such an episode can be linked to a fall in blood pressure, a lower heart rate, and fainting.

He had been at the La Lanterne residence in Versailles and was taken by helicopter to the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris, French media said.

"He had this problem when he was exercising, jogging. He has come round," Claude Gueant, Sarkozy's chief of staff said in a story on the website of "Le Parisien" newspaper.

"The president is totally conscious, his episode did not last very long."

Asked if Sarkozy had suffered from a cardiac problem, Gueant said: "That is without doubt wrong. It is premature to say."

His wife, the singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, was at his side. Prime Minister Francois Fillon returned to Paris from his constituency to the west of the French capital.

The pavement outside the hospital had a heavy police presence and was closed to traffic.

Sarkozy's office issued a short statement.

"He was immediately seen to by his doctor. He is currently undergoing extra examinations," the statement said. "Other information will be communicated later."

The results of a health check were released on July 3 which said he had undergone blood and cardiovascular tests and the results were normal.

Sarkozy, who took office in May 2007, was briefly hospitalized in October of that year but the information was not made public at the time, in line with the French tradition of near-secrecy about presidential health.

The episode was revealed in a book and confirmed by his office in January 2008.

Sarkozy is a keen jogger and cyclist and has frequently been photographed and filmed while exercising. He was spotted in shorts and running shoes jogging with his wife in New York's Central Park earlier this month.

They share a personal trainer, Julie Imperiali.