Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan ill

Sept. 23, 2006 at 10:27 AM

CHICAGO, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has asked the Chicago-based organization's executives to lead the group without him because he is ill.

In a letter published in The Final Call, the Nation of Islam's newspaper, Farrakhan, 73, said he has been in pain since earlier this year, the Chicago Tribune said. He said he was experiencing symptoms similar to those he had during his 1998 bout with prostate cancer.

Farrakhan wrote: "I will be available to give guidance in any major situation that may arise, but I would prefer that the Executive Board of the Nation of Islam help to solve the problems of the Nation, without asking me."

People familiar with the organization said they don't think Farrakhan's letter signals he is about to leave his leadership role after nearly 30 years, the Tribune said.

Farrakhan was treated by his doctors at Howard University Hospital in Washington and is recuperating at his home in Michigan. While visiting Cuba in March, Farrakhan visited doctors who discovered an ulcer in the anal area.

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