Mormon President Hinckley, 96, Says He's Healthy

Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, assured Mormons at their twice-yearly conference Sunday that his health is fine, despite major surgery this year.

Hinckley, 96, was hospitalized for six days last winter after a cancerous growth was removed from his colon.

"My doctors have called the results miraculous," he told the conference. "I know that the favorable results come from your many prayers on my behalf. I am deeply grateful to you."

He went on to say that "when it is time for a successor, the transition will be smooth."

There had been concern about his health after he skipped presiding over the church's April conference for the first time in his 11-year presidency, saying he was conserving energy. His diminished role at the podium and his remark that he was "in the sunset of my life" sparked speculation that his death was imminent.

But by late spring Hinckley, who also has a mild form of diabetes, had appeared to resume his normal, busy schedule, which included dedicating a building named after him at the church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo in June.

Hinckley, the church's 15th president, said that he couldn't know how much time he has left, but that he would continue to "give my best to the task at hand."

The two-day conference was broadcast worldwide via satellite and the Internet in 85 languages, and more than 100,000 people attended.

Mormon church presidents serve for life. Thomas S. Monson, 79, Hinckley's current first counselor in the triumvirate that leads the church, is in line to assume the role of president.