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Yes, George Clooney had malaria -- emphasis on 'had'

January 20, 2011 |  2:27 pm

George Clooney got malaria in Sudan. George Clooney and malaria can be truthfully linked in the same sentence. But shoot, Piers Morgan sure does know how to draw a crowd, firing off a rather tabloid-esque tweet on Thursday: "BREAKING NEWS: George Clooney has contracted malaria following recent trip to Sudan."

Oh, what a difference a verb tense makes.

How about, "George Clooney got malaria in Sudan"? That was the much less dire tweet a couple of hours later. Seems Clooney did pick up malaria on his early January trip to the African nation, but since then has gotten medication and is now fine. And by the way, he's on Piers' new show Friday night!

"George is completely over the malaria," his representative said in a statement, noting that it was the actor's second bout with the disease and adding, "This illustrates how with proper medication, the most lethal condition in Africa, can be reduced to a bad ten days instead of a death sentence."

Clooney had been traveling to Sudan to encourage diplomatic efforts to head off a civil war ahead of the country's recent referendum on whether the country's oil-rich south should secede, breaking off from the predominantly Muslim north. Election return estimates showed very strong support for secession; preliminary results are due Feb. 1, with final results on Feb. 14.

The Morgan-Clooney interview was taped Jan. 13. "Clooney malaria update: now have 24,563 offers to nurse him," Morgan said on Twitter. "But his rep says medication's worked and he's OK. Sorry, ladies."

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-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: George Clooney poses with officials during the referendum on the independence of South Sudan at a polling station in Juba, Southern Sudan, on Jan. 9, 2011. Voting began that day and lasted until Jan. 15. Credit: Mohamed Messara / EPA


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