Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is in intensive care, according to reports.
Cole, who was leader of Germany from 1982 to 1998, has had intestinal surgery and is recovering in the University hospital of Heidelberg, says German magazine Bunte.
The 85-year-old recently had a hip operation and is confined to a wheelchair.
He is widely regarded as the man behind German reunification and the driver, alongside former French President François Mitterrand, of the Maastricht Treaty, which precipitated the European Union.
Get a different perspective