Critically ill Holbrooke 'fighting' after aortic surgery
December 12th, 2010
12:19 PM ET

Critically ill Holbrooke 'fighting' after aortic surgery

U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke remains critically ill at George Washington University Hospital after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, senior White House adviser David Axelrod said Sunday.

Appearing on the CNN program "State of the Union," Axelrod called Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, "a very tough person" who was "fighting" the heart problem.

"Many people would have succumbed," Axelrod said of the rupture.

Holbrooke, 69, fell ill Friday morning during a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and walked down to the department's medical unit, a senior State Department official said. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, the official said.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta said the tearing of one of the layers of the walls of the aorta "happens suddenly." It typically is associated with high blood pressure and typically occurs in men between the ages of 50 and 70.

The location of the tear "would determine what, if any, other side effects would occur," Gupta said, adding that "this is different from a problem people think of with the heart where some of the blood vessels going to the heart become blocked."

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Filed under: Health Care • Richard Holbrooke • State Department
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. abby

    praying for him for a speedy recovery.

    December 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    Outstanding human being....speedy recovery......

    December 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |

    we can rebuild him...we have the technolgy..

    December 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. aw

    And East Timor celebrates the condition of this disgraced individual.

    December 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Faisal Adil

    Hope the SOB suffers and dies just as he deserves. He has blood on his hands.

    December 12, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Brieske

    The Ambassador will be okay. For a year before I went to live 4 blocks from the Ambassador's home, a man pulled a wheel ended big wooden cross up and down the 4 lane blvd of the nearest city with stoplights. He said, Jesus is coming. People laughed. Coincidentally, he stopped after my arrival.
    I met Liz (amb's.stepdaughter) 5 yrs later. I had met countless people, mostly I spent time with Republican and Democrat top one percent. The republicans would occasionally send a husband and wife to talk to me. I knew what they were. I always felt I were in the middle and I just spent time occasionally with 100 of the wealthiest Americans. I enjoyed talking to them.
    But I fell totally in love with one woman from the second I looked into her eyes. Haven't been able to not love her. Haven't tried any counter measures, I will love her always.
    Ambassador Holbrooke is a very good man. I will see him one day on the porch of their home and go speak with him.
    God once said 3 times to Angels above, I chose him.
    I love Liz.

    December 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pw

    Get well ambassador.

    December 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pw

    Get well soon!!

    December 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |