Former U.S. Senator Trent Lott hospitalized

FILE - In this March 21, 2012 file photo, former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., speaks at "A Century of Service" honoring former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Howard Baker at Mellon Auditorium in Washington.
File,AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

JACKSON, Miss. A one-time aide to former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott said Thursday that the Mississippi Republican has suffered a ruptured appendix.

The former aide, Lee Youngblood, told The Associated Press that he has been in touch with Lott's family. Youngblood said the 71-year-old Lott underwent surgery and is expected to recover.

"He did have a ruptured appendix," Youngblood said. "That's bad, but it's not life-threatening by any means."

In Jackson, Baptist Medical Center spokesman Robby Channell said Lott was in fair condition Thursday afternoon.

The Mayo clinic website describes appendicitis as a painful condition in which the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that projects out from the colon, becomes inflamed and fills with pus. If an appendix ruptures, it is a medical emergency and the contents of the intestines and infectious organisms can leak into the abdominal cavity, causing an infection there. This can potentially lead to a pocket of infection in the abdomen called an abscess, which requires treatment before it tears and causes a more widespread infection, the website says.

Lott's daughter and son-in-law, who live in Jackson, did not respond to requests for comment.

Word of Lott's surgery emerged after someone asked people to pray for him at a Rotary Club meeting Thursday in Gulfport, Miss., Youngblood said.

Lott lobbies for Washington-based Patton Boggs LLP and the Ridgeland, Miss., law firm of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC.

A native of coastal Pascagoula, Lott stopped living there after his waterfront home was destroyed by 2005's Hurricane Katrina. He owns a home northwest of Jackson in rural Pocahontas.

A onetime aide to conservative Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Colmer, Lott was elected as a Republican to succeed him in 1972 to the south Mississippi seat. He served 16 years in the House, rising to Republican whip, and ascended to the Senate in 1988 upon John Stennis' retirement.

He became Senate majority leader in 1996, and was scheduled to return to that post after the 2002 elections. Before he could take over again, he made remarks at the 100th birthday party for then-Sen. Strom Thurmond that voiced approval for Thurmond's 1948 candidacy for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat. After great criticism, Lott stepped down from leading the Republicans in late December 2002.

Lott returned to the Senate GOP leadership as minority whip before retiring in 2007, becoming a lobbyist after a year's wait.