The leader of Colombia's Revolutionary Alternative Force for the Commons (FARC) political party, former rebel commander Rodrigo Londoño, is due to undergo heart surgery, the group has said in a statement.
The FARC's candidate for the May 27 presidential elections, Londoño – also known by his nom de guerre 'Timochenko' – was hospitalized on Thursday with chest pains.
FARC senate candidate Carlos Antonio Lozada told reporters outside Bogota's Shaio Clinic on Friday that Londono was conscious and confident the surgery, which has yet to be scheduled, will go well.
Posting on Twitter, Londoño thanked his followers for their messages of support: "I appreciate the support I have received during the last hours from social networks and people from different sectors and places in the country. Their solidarity and greetings give me strength to continue to fly this collective effort."
The clinic said in a statement that doctors felt surgery was necessary after conducting tests and reviewing Londoño's clinical history, Reuters reports.
The 59-year-old has long suffered heart problems and underwent a prior surgery in Cuba while the group was negotiating the terms of a 2016 peace deal with the government.
He was taken to hospital experiencing chest pains after his daily exercise routine Thursday, the FARC said, just a day after vowing not to quit the presidential race.
The FARC suspended campaigning last month due to security concerns after angry protests disrupted campaign stops. The party has focused its political platform on fighting poverty.