By Giada Zampano

ROME--Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has had an angioplasty--an emergency surgical procedure to clear an obstructed coronary artery--and is recovering in hospital, his spokeswoman said.

Mr. Gentiloni, 62 years old, felt ill late Tuesday, after returning from an official visit to France.

His spokeswoman said the operation went well and he was awake in intensive care in Rome's Gemelli hospital. She said it was unclear how long he would remain in hospital, but he might need to stay there for at least another couple of days.

She added that Mr. Gentiloni was in touch with his staff via phone calls and texts, but declined to comment on whetherhis health would impact the government in the medium term.

For now, Mr. Gentiloni, who took office in December following Matteo Renzi's resignation, has canceled Thursday's visit to London, when he was due to meet British Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Tuesday, the Italian premier met French President François Hollande in the first of a planned round of international visits.

Mr. Gentiloni took power in December following the resignation of Mr. Renzi, who was defeated in a referendum vote on constitutional overhauls.

Mr. Gentiloni, who has pledged to work in strong continuity with Mr. Renzi's government, faces tough challenges ahead.

One of the premier's first moves has been the creation of a EUR20 billion ($21.1 billion) fund needed to shore up the country's troubled banks, setting the stage for the rescue of Italy's lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA.

Mr. Gentiloni has also pledged to take a strong stand in Europe on migration policy, a major issue in a country that remains the main entry point for seaborne migrants, and to continue Italy's push to loosen fiscal austerity rules imposed by the European Union.

Write to Giada Zampano at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 11, 2017 11:09 ET (16:09 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.