Spain's King Juan Carlos on Sunday was released from Madrid's Quiron San Jose Hospital after completing the first phase of his rehabilitation from hip replacement surgery performed on Nov. 23.

Upon leaving the hospital, the monarch spoke to the many reporters who were waiting at the access ramp to the parking lot, where the vehicle carrying him home to Zarzuela Palace stopped briefly, thanking them for their interest in his health.

The head of state was released from the hospital on Sunday around midday after "very satisfactorily" completing the first phase of post-operative rehabilitation and regaining "practically full autonomy for day-to-day movements," according to the medical report read to reporters by orthopedist Angel Villamor, who headed the medical team that replaced the king's left hip on the night of Nov. 23.

Juan Carlos has undergone nine operations since the 1980s. Earlier this year, on April 14, he had his right hip replaced after falling and shattering it in Botswana, where he had traveled to do some big-game hunting. Three other operations had to be performed due to injuries he suffered while playing sports and the rest were for assorted health reasons.

On Sept. 4, 2011, the Spanish monarch was admitted to the Quiron San Jose Hospital where Dr. Villamor performed surgery on a torn Achilles tendon, after which Juan Carlos was released the next day. EFE