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Pope Francis, 84, is doing well after surgery for an inflamed large colon, but is expected to spend around seven days recovering in hospital.

This was disclosed by the Vatican on Monday.

Francis “is in good general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously”, spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement, adding that the surgery “lasted about three hours”.

“A stay of about seven days is expected barring complications,” he said.

The pontiff was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital Sunday for a scheduled operation under general anaesthetic for symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.

Afterwards, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had “reacted well to the surgery”.

The Vatican press office told AFP on Monday it expected to issue a fresh medical bulletin around midday (1000 GMT).

A week earlier, on the eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Francis seemed to hint at the upcoming operation, saying: “I ask you to pray for the pope, pray in a special way. The pope needs your prayers”.

The Argentine is likely to stay in hospital for at least five days, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

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