Someone in the news died today and the following line was used:
He had been suffering from ill health throughout 2017.
Is it possible to say he was suffering from ill health throughout 2017?
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If the quotation is from an obituary then the formulation "had been suffering" is appropriate: the writer is looking back on the final year of someone's life. There is a particular style used in newspaper obituaries. If you are not writing an obituary, for example because the person is still alive then you could say "he was suffering..." with the unstated possible sequel "and then he recovered", or even "and his condition worsened in 2018".