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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in critical care after being hospitalized with "emergent bladder issue," Pentagon says

Austin in hospital for second time in weeks
Defense Secretary Austin hospitalized for bladder issue 02:15

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon following symptoms of an "emergent bladder issue," according to the Pentagon. He has since transferred his duties to his deputy.

He underwent what doctors at Walter Reed described as "non-surgical procedures under general anesthesia" in a statement from the hospital Monday.

Austin was taken Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at about 2:20 p.m. Sunday by his security detail to be seen for "symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue," Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

In a statement late Sunday night, Walter Reed officials said that Austin was admitted to a critical care unit of the hospital "after a series of tests and evaluations."

"The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery. His cancer prognosis remains excellent," Walter Reed's Sunday statement read.

Hospital personnel said Monday they did not expect a prolonged hospital stay and anticipated Austin would be able to resume his normal duties Tuesday.

Ryder had initially said that Austin would retain his duties as defense secretary while in the hospital. However, Ryder said Sunday evening that Austin had "transferred the functions and duties of the office" to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

The initial statement said that Hicks, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House and Congress were notified. 

A White House official confirmed Sunday evening that the Office of the Secretary of Defense had informed the White House and National Security Council about Austin's hospitalization. The official directed further questions about Austin's health to the Pentagon.

Earlier this year, Austin was hospitalized for two weeks following complications related to treatment for prostate cancer. He returned to work in person at the Pentagon at the end of January, and in a news conference said he was still recovering.

Austin was scheduled to go to a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group this week in Brussels, Belgium, in what would have been his first overseas trip since his initial hospitalization. On Monday, a defense official said Austin will no longer be traveling to Brussels and that the meeting will be held virtually.

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