Itzhak Klepter
Israeli musician Itzhak Klepter in 2008. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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The musician Itzhak Klepter, also known as "Churchill," was hospitalized yesterday in the intensive care unit of Ichilov Hospital after being short of breath, the result of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD ) he suffers from. The hospital said that the illness Klepter suffers from is caused by heavy smoking, and that he arrived at the hospital suffering from acute shortness of breath that prevented him from falling asleep.

The doctors put him to sleep so that his system could stabilize with the help of a breathing apparatus.

Vered Klepter, his ex-wife, who was with him at the hospital, said that he was hospitalized under similar circumstances two weeks ago, but was released two days later. "Initially his condition was good, but several days later he deteriorated and we had to return to the hospital," she told Haaretz.

"At this time his condition is stable. We need to wait for a couple of days to see what happens. I hope the medication they are giving him is helping him," she added.

Uriah, Klepter's son, described his father's condition as "not great."

A gifted musician, Klepter, 61, is considered one of the most important guitarists in the Israeli rock scene. A decade ago he underwent an operation to remove a tumor in his head. His former band, Kaveret, got together to raise money for the urgent operation.

Klepter played with many leading musicians, including Gali Atari, Arik Sinai, and Arik Einstein. He has had many ups and downs in his solo career, which has been much affected by his health.