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The 74-year-old Spanish monarch joked with journalists as he left a hospital Sunday in the front passenger seat of a chauffeur-driven car, promising to "take things very easy" during his recuperation.

A hospital statement says the king had "very satisfactorily completed the first phase of his rehabilitation."

In April, the head of state was flown back from a controversial elephant hunting safari in Botswana, after fracturing his right hip joint.

The king has had several health issues in the past two years, including knee surgery and the removal of a benign lung tumor.