As a reply to a couple of comments I received on my previous post about Chirac and his health, I would have to say that the matter is more complicated than that.
Dominique de Villepin (French Prime Minister) has commented on Chirac's health twice already, first to formerly announce it after AFP leaked the news at the UMP Convention in La Baule and later this evening, saying he had had a lengthy conversation with president Chirac and that he "couldn't wait to get out". With the Presidential elections looming (in 20 months time, 2007), a 3rd term has been mentioned (Chirac would be 74) but only to say it was rather unlikely, which I would agree with. The official press releases from the Val-de-Grace hospital only mentioned a minor vascular accident which resulted in a minor loss of sight and that's about it.
In terms of what actually happened and how serious the condition is, it is somewhat shrouded in mystery. This is however a regular occurrence in the 5th Republic. Georges Pompidou's illness was not revealed until he died in 1969 and despite regular health updates on during Mitterrand's 2 presidencies, his cancer was not made public until shortly after he was re-elected when in fact, he had been ill (and known to be ill) since before he actually ran for Office in 1981. The health of French Presidents while they are in office are often kept secret and i don't think we'll know how he actually is for a good while now.
As for the media's response it has been very cold I have to say, very matter of fact. Their main concern was to enquire about who was going to run the country and what the Constitution said about such instances...