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Former premier Ralph Klein, at the unveiling of his official portrait at the Alberta Legislature Rotunda in Edmonton, Alta. on Thursday, August 30, 2007.

John Ulan/The Canadian Press/John Ulan/The Canadian Press

Former Alberta premier Ralph Klein is set to be released from hospital and into a continuing care facility, with the aim of eventually enabling him to return home.

Mr. Klein, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and aphasia, has been sent to hospital at least twice recently.

In a statement on behalf of the ex-premier's family, the provincial health department said that his wife, Colleen Klein, wanted to thank the staff at Rockyview General Hospital, near Mr. Klein's home in suburban Calgary, for their care.

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In April, doctors diagnosed Mr. Klein with frontotemporal dementia, which, over time, may rob him of his speech.

Dubbed King Ralph for his utter dominance of provincial politics in the 1990s and much of the 2000s, Mr. Klein was best known for his folksy style and quick wit. These traits helped the Progressive Conservative leader amass a tremendous amount of personal popularity and win four consecutive majority governments during his 14-year tenure as premier.

Mr. Klein stepped down in 2006 after a poor showing at a party leadership review. He turns 69 next month.

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