U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk was hospitalized with a stroke Saturday after checking himself into a hospital in Chicago, Ill. The Senator's Illinois office confirms that he had surgery this morning to relieve swelling from his brain. The surgery was successful and he should be on the path to recovery.
On Saturday, Senator Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital, where doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck. He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where further tests revealed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke, read a statement released from Kirk's Illinois office.
Early this morning the Senator underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain stemming from the stroke. The surgery was successful. Due to his young age, good health and the nature of the stroke, doctors are very confident in the Senator's recovery over the weeks ahead, the statement continued.
The 52-year-old Republican Senator is in his first-term in the U.S. Senate. He ran against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the 2010 special election for President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat. In a close election, Kirk beat out Giannoulias with 48 percent of the vote to Giannoulias' 46 percent, winning the full six-year term. As senator, Kirk currently serves on the Committees on Appropriations, Banking, Housing and Urban Development and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as well as the Special Committee on Aging.
Kirk was previously elected to the U.S. House in 2000 and served for five terms as a representative of Illinois' 10th Congressional District in Congress, where he gained a reputation as a centrist Republican.
After graduating from Cornell University, the London School of Economics and Georgetown University Law Center, Kirk joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1989 as an Intelligence Officer. He has served in Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo and currently holds the rank of Commander.