Kennedy taken ill at inaugural luncheon

January 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., battling a brain tumor, became ill at a post-inauguration luncheon for President Barack Obama on Tuesday and was rushed by ambulance to a hospital.

There was no immediate word from medical personnel on his condition, although fellow senators said he had suffered an apparent seizure and remained conscious as he was taken for further evaluation.

A spokeswoman at the Washington Hospital Center, where Kennedy was taken, said he was awake and answering questions. His wife Vicki and son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., were with him.

There was no immediate word on what tests would be conducted. Standard procedure in cases like Kennedy's calls for a CT scan to search for any bleeding or any other abnormalities in the brain.


Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W., Va., told reporters that Obama noticed when Kennedy became ill, and rushed over to his table.

"There was a call for silence throughout the room," he said. "The president went over immediately. The lights went down, just to reduce the heat, I think."

In his remarks, Obama said his prayers were with the stricken senator, his family and wife, Vicki.

"He was there when the Voting Rights Act passed, along with John Lewis who was a warrior for justice," the newly inaugurated president said.

"And so I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now a part of me is with him. And I think that's true for all of us," Obama said.

"It looked like a seizure," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said he was with Kennedy until they reached the ambulance.

Kennedy has suffered previous seizures since he became ill and underwent surgery last summer.

The Herald-Mail Articles