Official: Lebanon's top Shiite cleric hospitalized

July 2, 2010 14:53

Lebanon's top Shiite cleric has been hospitalized after suffering complications from liver problem, an official close to the influential sheik said Friday.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah had been in hospital for 12 days but his conditions deteriorated on Friday after suffering complications from a liver problem, said the official.The 75-year-old Fadlallah is a very influential Shiite cleric in the region, with followings in Lebanon and Iraq. He is one of the founders of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa party and serves as the spiritual guide for many key Iraqi Shiite leaders.

Western media have called him the spiritual leader of the Lebanese militant Hezbollah — a claim both he and the group deny.

He was born in Iraq and at the age of 30 moved to Lebanon. Shiites make up one-third of Lebanon's population of 4 million.

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