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Google chief executive Larry Page breaks silence on 'rare' vocal cord problem

Mysterious absence led to speculation over whether search giant was hiding an ailing chief

Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page has revealed a problem his vocal cords are partially paralysed which makes it difficult for him to speak and breathe occasionally but his condition will not stop him running the search giant.

The explanation that Page posted on his profile on the social network Google+ cleared up a mystery hanging over him since he lost his voice a year ago, causing him to miss the annual shareholders meeting in June and a conference call to discuss the company's quarterly earnings in July.

Page, 40, the company's co-founder and chief executive for the past two years, says his left vocal cord has been paralysed since coming down with a severe cold 14 years ago, while Google was still in its formative stages. That issue was compounded last year with another cold that Page says impaired his right vocal cord, though it still has limited movement.

His disclosure came just days before the annual Google gathering of software developers in San Francisco. Page's unavailability last year at the event led to speculation over his health in the light of technology giant Apple's initial refusal to disclose the extent of co-founder Steve Jobs' health problems.

Jobs took two formal medical leaves as Apple's CEO before resigning from the job about six weeks before his death from cancer. When Page had his health issue, Google had simply said Page was dealing with a throat problem that wouldn't get in the way of his job.

"Thankfully, after some initial recovery I'm fully able to do all I need to at home and at work, though my voice is softer than before," wrote Page.

Page said doctors had told him his condition was "extremely rare."

Google said the company had no further comment beyond Page's post.