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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Reports: Tito Vilanova in hospital

Former Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has been hospitalised and is in serious condition following emergency surgery, according to reports.

Tito Vilanova has been battling cancer for more than two years.

Vilanova had surgery on Thursday at Clinica Quiron in Barcelona as gastric complications arose, multiple news outlets in Spain reported. The Catalan coach has dealt with cancer in his parotid gland for more than two years.

Vilanova, 44, has been in hospital since last Friday, according to Marca.

As word of Vilanova's worsening health spread on Thursday, a call for courage of "Anims Tito" went out across social media.

Weeks before the start of this season, Vilanova told players he would not be able to continue at the helm of the team.

"The doctors recommend that, with the treatments that I must follow from now on, I cannot devote 100 percent to the tasks of head coach as required by FC Barcelona. But I will continue to work closely for the club that I love on other sporting tasks," he said at the time through a statement.

Vilanova was Pep Guardiola's assistant before being promoted to the top job in 2012. In his one season in charge, Vilanova led Barca to their fourth La Liga title in five years, becoming only the second team after Real Madrid to reach the 100-point mark.

He had a tumour removed from his throat in late 2011, but suffered a relapse a year later and took multiple trips to New York for treatment.

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