WASHINGTON--Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is recovering from a stroke at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after surgery on Monday. He was stricken on Saturday.
On Saturday, Kirk, 52, drove himself to Lake Forest Hospital and was transferred to Northwestern for tests that revealed he suffered an ischemeic stroke, his office said in a statement.
His Monday surgery was to relieve swelling around his brain.
At Lake Forest, "doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck. He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where further tests revealed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke. Early this morning the Senator underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain stemming from the stroke. The surgery was successful. Due to his young age, good health and the nature of the stroke, doctors are very confident in the Senator's recovery over the weeks ahead," the statement said.
Doctors discussed his condition at an 11:30 a.m. cst press conference at Northwestern.
Kirk was sworn in as senator on Nov. 29, 2010, to fill the weeks remaining in President Barack Obama's Illinois senate term. Kirk moved to the Senate after an election battle with then Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Kirk, a Highland Park resident, served five terms in the House--first elected in 2000--before moving to the Senate. Kirk is also a Navy Reserve officer.
According to the National Institute of Health, "Ischemic strokes may be caused by clogged arteries. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances collect on the artery walls, forming a sticky substance called plaque."
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) said in a statement, "Senator Kirk is one of Illinois' most dedicated and hard-working champions, and it's hard to imagine that anything could slow him down for long. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, staff, and friends right now. All of us in the delegation are pulling for his full and speedy recovery. Senator Kirk is a fighter, and I am confident he will battle through this."
GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney said in a statement, ""I am extremely distressed by the news that my friend Mark Kirk is hospitalized for emergency medical treatment. I wish him a speedy recovery and a swift return to the U.S. Senate chamber, so he can continue his important work for the people of Illinois and all the people of the United States." Kirk endorsed Romney
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement, "I was stunned to learn that Mark suffered a stroke. He is young and in good physical condition and I have no doubt he will make a speedy recovery. I have reached out to his staff and offered to do anything I can to help with his Senate duties. Loretta and I will keep Mark and his family in our prayers."
Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) said in a statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kirk and his family today. I would like to thank the medical professionals for their excellent work and their immediate actions to care for the Senator. Danielle and I join with all the people of the 10th district and across the country in wishing the Senator a full and speedy recovery."
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said on her Twitter, "Sending all of our best wishes to HP resident US Senator Mark Kirk for a speedy recovery."
Also on Twitter, Sen. John McCain said that his "thoughts and prayers" are with his colleague and wished him "a speedy recovery."
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said in a statement, "Like anyone who knows Senator Kirk, I am stunned and saddened to hear about his recent stroke. But if there is one thing I have learned about Mark over the years, it's that he is a fighter and relentless in his efforts to accomplish a goal. Those attributes will serve him well in working toward a rapid recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with him."
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) said in a statement, ""Like anyone who knows Senator Kirk, I am stunned and saddened to hear about his recent stroke. But if there is one thing I have learned about Mark over the years, it's that he is a fighter and relentless in his efforts to accomplish a goal. Those attributes will serve him well in working toward a rapid recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with him."