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Sen. Kennedy Hospitalized

This article is more than 12 years old.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was hospitalized Saturday after becoming ill at his home, his office said.

A knowledgeable official said the Massachusetts Democrat was in the hospital after suffering from a seizure.

Kennedy spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter confirmed in a statement that Kennedy went to Cape Cod Hospital on Saturday morning "after feeling ill at his home.'' After discussion with his doctors in Boston, Kennedy was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for further examination.

"He is currently under evaluation that information will be released as it becomes available,'' she said.

Hyannis Fire Lt. Bill Rex told The Associated Press that a 911 call came in from the Kennedy family compound at 8:19 a.m. A man was transported to Cape Cod Hospital and transferred by air at 10:10 a.m. from Barnstable Municipal Airport to Massachusetts General.

David Reilly, a spokesman for Cape Cod Hospital, said that Kennedy was brought to the hospital at about 9 a.m. and stayed for about an hour before being flown by helicopter to the Boston hospital. He said he could not comment on Kennedy's condition or treatment because of medical privacy laws.

Kennedy, 76, has been in the Senate since election in 1962, filling out the term won by his brother, John F. Kennedy.

In October, Kennedy had surgery to repair a nearly complete blockage in a major neck artery. The discovery was made during a routine examination of a decades-old back injury.

The hourlong procedure on his left carotid artery — a main supplier of blood to the face and brain — was performed at Massachusetts General. This type of operation is performed on more than 180,000 people a year to prevent a stroke.

The doctor who operated on Kennedy said at the time that surgery is reserved for those with more than 70 percent blockage, and Kennedy had "a very high-grade blockage.''

Weeks after the surgery, he returned to work in the Senate and told the AP, "I'm feeling fine. I think it's just about getting the energy level back. ... The strength has been coming back daily.''

One of Kennedy's doctors said after the surgery that the senator's overall health was excellent. Kennedy is on blood-pressure and cholesterol medication. Kennedy has been bothered by an aching back since a 1964 plane crash, which killed a pilot and one of Kennedy's aides.

Kennedy is the lone surviving son in a famed political family. His eldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a World War II airplane crash. President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother Robert was assassinated in 1968.

Considered a liberal lion in the Senate, Edward Kennedy was re-elected in 2006. His current term ends in 2013. The senator made a failed run for the presidency in 1980.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, beginning a tour of hospitals in Eugene, Ore., told reporters that he had been in touch with the senator's family. "Ted Kennedy is a giant in American political history. He's done more for health care than just about anybody in history. We are going to be rooting for him. I insist on being optimistic about how it's going to turn out.''

Kennedy gave Obama's presidential campaign a big boost this year with his endorsement and has campaigned actively for the Illinois senator.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the likely GOP presidential nominee, said he awaited word on Kennedy's condition. "Senator Kennedy's role in the U.S. Senate cannot be overstated. He is a legendary lawmaker, and I have the highest respect for him. When we have worked together, he has been a skillful, fair and generous partner.''

This program aired on May 17, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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