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Lloyd Austin, urgently hospitalized: What is the reason and what is known about his health condition?

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized and admitted to a critical care unit for treatment of “symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue.”

Update:
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized and admitted to a critical care unit for treatment of “symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue.”
POOLvia REUTERS

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has transferred the duties of his office to his deputy after being admitted to a critical care unit at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

Austin is in the hospital for treatment of “symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue”, according to a statement from hospital officials. It is “not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized,” the statement added.

Hospital officials however were optimistic about his recovery, saying that his cancer prognosis continues to be excellent, and that the current bladder problem was not likely to hinder his expected full recovery from the killer disease.

In the meantime, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks has taken over the responsibilities of his office, according to the Pentagon.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: Keeping his illness a secret

Austin had been previously criticized by both Republican and Democratic legislators for not disclosing a prostate cancer diagnosis in early December. He also failed to make public a subsequent procedure to treat the illness later that month, for which he needed to stay overnight at the hospital.

The 70-year-old had to return to the medical center on New Year’s Day due to complications arising from the procedure.

Austin did not disclose his diagnosis or his hospitalization to the media or senior government officials including President Joe Biden. The incident caused embarrassment to the Biden administration, and in a news conference earlier this month, Austin apologized for his actions.

At present, there are three different investigations into the secretary’s behavior.

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Who is Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin?

Austin served as a four-star general in the US Army, overseeing military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of North Africa. He was nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the senate in January 2021, becoming the first Black American to be named Secretary of Defense.