Kidney stones ruin Bezos' five-star holiday
AMAZON founder Jeff Bezos was recovering on Saturday after being airlifted off the scenic Galapagos Islands because he was suffering from severe kidney stones, an Ecuadorian official said.
The 49-year-old American billionaire, who also owns The Washington Post, was walking on a tourist yacht near Santa Fe Island when he complained of severe pain.
"We received a call for a medical emergency and proceeded to make a helicopter evacuation from a passenger yacht. Until then, we were unaware that it was Mr Bezos," said Captain Santiago Rubio, captain of the port of Santa Cruz Island, the most populous area of the Ecuadorian archipelago.
Mr Bezos was taken to Baltra Island, from where he left on a private plane to the United States for emergency surgery, the regional maritime directorate, Dirgin, said in a statement.
In a short statement, Amazon.com vice-president for public relations Drew Herdener confirmed the incident by relaying a message from Mr Bezos, in which the tycoon indicated that he was in high spirits: "Galapagos: Five stars. Kidney stones: Zero stars."
Galapagos National Park draws many wealthy and famous visitors among the roughly 180,000 tourists who visit every year to gape at the archipelago's rich but fragile biodiversity.
Mr Bezos is the 19th-richest person in the world, with a fortune of US$25 billion (S$32 billion), according to Forbes magazine.