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October 1, 2009

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Star comedian Zhao suffers stroke

One of China's most renowned comedians, Zhao Benshan, 52, suffered a stroke in the early hours of yesterday and underwent a successful operation last night at Shanghai's Huashan Hospital.

Doctors said Zhao, conscious and in stable condition, was suffering from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain.

They described SAH as "a medical emergency, mainly due to abnormalities of the arteries at the base of the brain or brain injury."

A close friend of Zhao's said he would be kept in the hospital for further treatment, while insisting Zhao would be OK and celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival on Saturday by eating mooncakes.

Dr Song Donglei, of Huashan Hospital's neurosurgery department, said bleeding around Zhao's brain tissues was not severe and was under well control.

"He is expected to have a good recovery under our treatment," he said.

Liu Shuangping, president of Benmountain Media Group, whose board director is Zhao, said the entertainer was coherent and was responding well to treatment.

"We believe he will make a quick recovery," he said.

"Zhao asked us to thank all of you for your concern."

Liu said Zhao felt tired and sick when acting in the new TV series "Country Love 3" in Shanghai's rural Nanhui area just after midnight.

Zhao was taken to Nanhui area branch of Huashan Hospital about 2am by family members and colleagues.

Liu declined to release further details about Zhao's illness, stressing his need for privacy.

"But he didn't have a heart attack and is not in a coma as some Websites reported," he told a press conference at 5:40pm in Huashan Hospital.

More than 20 reporters from media organizations, including some from Taiwan and Hong Kong, gathered in the small press room and had been waiting for hours for news about the celebrity.

"We conducted a CT scan on Zhao while receiving him in the early morning and found he suffered SAH," said Huang Fengping, president of Huashan's Nanhui branch.

"After discussions with Zhao's family members,we arranged for his transferal to the headquartersof Huashan in downtownJing'an District after our primary treatment on him."

An ambulance took Zhao to the Jing'an hospital at noon.

Doctors carried out tests and confirmed the diagnosis.


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