Spain

El País accidentally announces the death of King Juan Carlos


PHOTO: IREKIA/CC BY 2.0/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Spain’s leading newspaper,El País, published the obituary of King Juan Carlos online albeit incredibly prematurely.

In actual fact, the former King of Spain is alive and well and is recovering in hospital from major cardiac surgery.

El País announced the King’s death 3:30pm due to “complications” during the heart operation which resulted in the 81-year-old having a triple bypass.

The obituary was only online for a matter of minutes, but not before readers managed to take screenshots of the post and share the incorrect news elsewhere.

The headline of the post read ‘King Juan Carlos dies’ with the newspaper paying tribute to a ‘crucial figure in the recent history of Spain,’ describing him as “the main architect of the transition of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco to democracy.”

El País explained that the article was published due to an “algorithm error.”

King Juan Carlos’s condition has ‘evolved favourably’ since his operation, according to doctors, and he is expected to be transferred out of the intensive care unit shortly.

It’s not yet clear how long the 81-year-old will be in hospital following the surgery. Doctors decided to operate after a routine medical check up in June this year. Bypass surgery treats obstructions in the heart to improve blood flow, and it’s among the most common heart procedures in older patients.

Juan Carlos retired from public life at the start of June 2019, just days before the check-up revealed he needed cardiac surgery. Earlier this year, it was confirmed he had undergone an operation to remove a lesion from his face. Last year, he was in hospital for several days for surgery on his knee.

Juan Carlos became King of Spain in November 1975 on the death of the fascist dictator, Francisco Franco. He abdicated in favour of his only son, Felipe, in June 2014. He is widely admired for his role in establishing democracy in Spain in the early part of his reign.