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    US Senator Kennedy rushed to hospital after seziure

    AFP
    18.05.2008 - 10:49 | Son Güncelleme:

    US Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democratic Party icon and scion of a powerful political dynasty, was in hospital Sunday undergoing a series of tests after suffering a seizure.

    The 76-year-old liberal stalwart fell ill Saturday at his Kennedy family compound in the coastal town of Hyannis Port and was taken to a nearby hospital before being flown by helicopter to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital

     

    The patriarch of the tragedy-scarred Kennedy clan is the last surviving brother of late president John F. Kennedy, assassinated in 1963, and Robert Kennedy, shot dead while campaigning for the presidency in 1968.

     

    Kennedy’s doctor said preliminary tests found he had not suffered a stroke and was not in "immediate danger," but the senator would undergo more evaluations over the next few days to determine what caused the seizure.

     

    "He’s resting comfortably, and watching the Red Sox (baseball) game with his family," Larry Ronan, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General, said in a statement.

     

    Kennedy’s senate office said results of the tests would not likely be known until Monday.

     

    The Boston Globe newspaper reported that Kennedy had suffered a seizure at home, and then another as he was being transported by helicopter.

     

    The Cape Cod Times said he was conscious when emergency services first arrived at his home. A photograph on its website showed Kennedy on a stretcher being wheeled out to the helicopter, about two hours later. According to the newspaper, Kennedy had surgery in October to repair a blockage in a major neck artery, a common procedure to prevent a stroke.

     

    Often called Ted or Teddy, Kennedy was first elected to the Senate in 1962, making him the second longest serving senator after Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

     

    Influential within his own party and Congress, Kennedy has championed liberal causes such as health care and the raising of the minimum wage, and has been a fierce critic of President George W. Bush and the US war in Iraq.

     

    Kennedy’s hospitalization sent shockwaves through the political world and he drew messages of support from Democrats and Republicans alike, including from Bush, who a spokesman said has "warm relations" with Kennedy in spite of political differences.

     

    Bush, traveling in the Middle East, "was informed last night that Senator Kennedy experienced some seizure," White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. "He wishes him a return to good health."

     

    Kennedy lost in a race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980 to incumbent president Jimmy Carter.

     

    This year’s three main candidates for president all serve with Kennedy in the Senate and were quick to send messages of support.

     

    The 2008 Democratic frontrunner, Barack Obama, was campaigning in Oregon and said he had contacted the Kennedy family. "Obviously they are in our thoughts and prayers," said the Illinois senator, for whom Kennedy has actively campaigned this year. "Ted Kennedy is a giant in American political history," he said, calling him "one of my favorite people."

     

    "He has done more for the health care of others than just about anybody in history and so we are going to be rooting for him and I insist on being optimistic about how its going to turn out," he added.

     

    New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination and who had unsuccessfully sought Kennedy’s support on the campaign trail despite a reported appeal from her husband, former president Bill Clinton, also expressed hope that Kennedy would soon recover. "My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Ted Kennedy and his family today. We all wish him well and a quick recovery," she said in a statement.

     

    Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, also wished him well.

     

    "I was very sorry to hear that Senator Kennedy has taken ill, and like millions of Americans, Cindy and I anxiously await word of his condition," he said. "Senator Kennedy’s role in the US Senate cannot be overstated. He is a legendary lawmaker, and I have the highest respect for him."

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