Xi Jinping
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping rose to power from uncertain beginnings, and is expected to become China's next president in 2013. Xinhua

Xi Jinping, who is slated to become the next leader of Communist China, has apparently suffered a heart attack, according to a report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Xi’s unusual absence from the public eye over the past week has raised speculation of his status and whereabouts. He had cancelled a number of meetings with high-level foreign dignitaries, including one with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sept. 4.

Communist Party officials have been reticent to comment on Xi’s condition.

"Although people have said he suffered a back injury, he actually had a heart attack, a myocardial infarction," Li Weidong, a political commentator in Beijing and former editor of China Reform magazine, told the Telegraph.

However, Willy Lam, the former editor of the South China Morning Post, said he thinks the 59-year-old Jinping suffered a stroke.