Clark sends goodwill message to Sir Edmund

By Stuart Dye

Prime Minister Helen Clark today sent a heartfelt message of goodwill to New Zealand mountaineering legend Sir Edmund Hillary, hospitalised after returning from a trip to Kathmandu on Sunday.

"Everyone will be thinking of Sir Ed, he's a national icon," Miss Clark said tonight.

"There's no one we love more. I think the message from every single one of us is 'hang in there Sir Ed, we love you'," she said on Radio New Zealand.

Lady June Hillary said in a statement that she was happy with Sir Ed's progress and that he is in a comfortable condition and improves daily.

Miss Clark said Sir Ed was a hero to all New Zealanders.

"I've sent a message (to Lady Hillary) saying 'we're thinking of you, and we want Sir Ed to be as well as he can be'."

There was no comment on the nature of his illness.

He did not immediately seek treatment after apparently suffering a fall.

The man who conquered Mt Everest is thought to be in a comfortable condition after being admitted to hospital later in the weekend.

He is being kept in for observation but the Herald understands Sir Edmund's injuries are not life-threatening, though he is being closely monitored.

The family has declined to talk about Sir Edmund's condition.

Daughter Sarah said she had been asked not to comment.

Son Peter is away preparing for a conference in the US and his wife Yvonne Oomen told the Herald she did not know how Sir Edmund was.

"I'm going to visit him this afternoon," she said.

Sir Edmund visited Antarctica in January for the 50th anniversary of Scott Base, the New Zealand research station he established in 1957.

That success came four years after Sir Edmund's conquest of Everest with sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

- additional reporting NZPA

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