By Lauren Rearick
UPDATE: (10/4/19, 7:25 p.m. ET): Senator Bernie Sanders has been released from a Las Vegas-area hospital after suffering a heart attack, his campaign confirmed to CNN on Friday (October 4). "I want to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center for the excellent care that they provided," Sanders told CNN in a statement. "After two and a half days in the hospital, I feel great, and after taking a short time off, I look forward to getting back to work."
Campaigning for any political office can force candidates and their staffers to feel like they need to push through some pretty grueling schedules. But as the race to 2020 ramps up, at least one candidate is taking a bit of downtime for health reasons.
On Tuesday (October 1) Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was hospitalized after he experienced “chest discomfort,” his senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement to MTV News.
“Following medical evaluation and testing he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stents were successfully inserted,” the statement read. “Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.” It’s unclear whether the incident will prevent Sanders from attending the October 15 Democratic primary debate in Westerville, Ohio.
According to CNN, Sanders was campaigning in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he first made the call about his health. The senator had timed his visit to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, CNN reported. Earlier in the evening, he had paid a visit to the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden, and he was later scheduled to hold a “Medicare for All” town hall on Wednesday and attend a gun safety forum for the presidential candidates, NPR reported.
Other Democratic candidates shared public messages of support for the senator, including Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Bruce, Team Warren, and I are sending all our best wishes for a speedy recovery to @BernieSanders,” she wrote. “I hope to see my friend back on the campaign trail very soon.”
This is the first reported instance of Sanders struggling with a heart issue, NPR notes. In a 2016 health report released by his doctor, the Vermont senator was described as being in good health. He had promised to release current medical records before the primaries, ABC News reported. If elected, the 78-year-old Sanders would be the oldest president to serve in the history of the United States. The record for the oldest-elected President goes to Ronald Reagan, who was almost 74 when he won reelection for his second term in 1984.