FIFA ex-president Blatter was in coma after heart surgery, daughter says

FILE PHOTO: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter arrives before a commemoration service for the former coach of the Swiss national soccer team Koebi Kuhn at the Grossmuenster church in Zurich, Switzerland December 13, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter spent a week in an artificially induced coma after heart surgery last month, his daughter has told Swiss media.

"Just before Christmas, he had to go to the hospital for heart surgery," Corinne Blatter said in an interview with CH Media, adding the operation had been expected to be routine.

"But then everything became more complicated and dangerous. In total, he was in an artificial coma for over a week and was no longer responsive."

The 84-year-old had tested positive for the coronavirus in November, his daughter said, but had recovered without having shown many apparent symptoms.

Blatter, who was FIFA president for 17 years, was suspended and later banned by the soccer body's ethics committee after becoming the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland in 2015.

The proceedings, which are continuing, were widened in November to include suspicions of fraud alongside those of mismanagement and misappropriation.

FIFA in late December also said it had filed a criminal complaint with Zurich prosecutors against Blatter over "criminal mismanagement" of a museum project he set up.

Corinne Blatter, speaking ahead of a hearing her father was set to attend within a wider-ranging complex of civil and criminal matters, said her father was not aware of the new complaint lodged by FIFA, and that the scrutiny over the last five years had taken a toll on him.

"I am not a medical doctor, nor am I a psychologist. But when you consider all the things my father has had to put up with in the last five years ... you can imagine that he has been under a lot of pressure," she said.

Blatter is now showing small but continual signs of recovery, she said, and was released from intensive care this week.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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