Uzbekistan's veteran president, Islam Karimov, who suffered a brain hemorrhage at the weekend according to his daughter, failed to deliver his traditional Independence Day address for the first time in 25 years on Wednesday.
His daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, earlier thanked well-wishers for their messages of support which she said were helping her father's recovery - a move aimed at countering reports in some media this week that he had died.
Karimov, 78, has run the Central Asian state with authoritarian style since before independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has no apparent immediate successor.
With him now apparently in intensive care and with a power vacuum possibly looming, authorities hastily redrew plans for marking national day on September 1 and a state television presenter stepped in on Wednesday night to read a brief Independence Day text on Karimov's behalf.
The newscaster made no mention of Karimov or his illness.
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