Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis was last night recovering in intensive care after a heart by-pass operation.
Doctors at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, where Mr Ellis was admitted last Thursday, said they had conducted major, but routine surgery yesterday.
A spokesman for Aston Villa said last night: "The surgeon was very pleased with the way things went and the chairman is now in recovery."
Mr Ellis is expected to spend at least several days in intensive care due to the severity of the operation.
Although open heart surgery carries obvious risks, particularly in a patient who is 81-years-old, doctors will now try to get Mr Ellis on his feet again as soon as possible to aid his recovery.
He has told members of his family that he intends to be back working at Villa before the new Premiership season starts in August.
He received dozens of messages of support from friends and well-wishers after the club broke the news in a statement to the stock exchange.
Mr Ellis was in his office as usual last Monday morning but complained of chest pains later in the week.