Gabon's presidency admitted for the first time on Sunday that President Omar Bongo, hospitalised for nearly three weeks in Saudi Arabia, is in a serious condition but said his health is improving.
Lack of official news -- along with memories of the secrecy-shrouded death of Bongo's father Omar Bongo in 2009 -- had sparked numerous rumours, including suggestions he was incapacitated or dead.
Following discomfort and "persistent vertigo... the first tests revealed bleeding which justified medical surgical care in a highly specialised sector," according to a medical bulletin from doctors treating Bongo, quoted by Ngouoni.
Ali Bongo "was treated with appropriate and thorough support that has so far significantly improved his general condition," it said.
A foreign source close to Bongo and his French-born wife Sylvia told AFP on Wednesday that Bongo had had a stroke.