Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night with breathing difficulties and an inflamed throat while battling the flu during an icy spell that has swept Italy, the Vatican said.
Anxiety has been running high over the 84-year-old pope's Parkinson's disease and other ailments, but Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told <i>The Associated Press</i> that the decision to hospitalize him was "mainly a precaution."
He noted that the pope was not in intensive care but in the same 10th floor suite of rooms where he has been during several previous stays at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic, about 2 1/2 miles from the Vatican.
The pope has the flu and acute laryngeal tracheitis, he said, acknowledging the pontiff had a "certain difficulty in breathing." Navarro-Valls, who has a medical degree, denied Italian news reports that John Paul had a CAT scan at the hospital. Navarro-Valls said more tests will be done on Wednesday.