The business of politics
Politics can be a brutal business.
In Glasgow City Council, by custom and repute, they have tended to elevate such toughness to an upper level.
It is said further on his behalf that he has agreed to seek medical help and is consequently under doctor's orders.
The origins of Mr Purcell's stress are said to originate in the challenges of dealing with the umpteen pressures at his local authority, the largest in Scotland.
Pressures cited include the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the continuing controversy over Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.
Mr Purcell has hired the PR firm, Media House, to represent his interests.
Here at Holyrood and in the city council itself, there is an effort underway to understand, appreciate and sympathise with the personal challenges which would appear to have beset the leader: at 37, relatively young in local authority terms.
His deputy, Jim Coleman, steps up temporarily, assuring the people of Glasgow that it will be "business as usual".