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Top US envoy in critical condition after surgery

[ 2010-12-13 13:02]     字号 [] [] []  
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Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who is a special envoy on the Afghanistan war, was in critical condition after undergoing more than 20 hours of surgery to fix a tear in the large artery that moves blood from the heart.

President Barack Obama gave a hint of the seriousness of the situation, saying in a statement that he and first lady Michelle Obama were praying for Holbrooke's recovery. He called Holbrooke, "a towering figure in American foreign policy" who has been a critical player in developing the administration's policy on Afghanistan.

The 69-year-old was meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about midmorning on Friday at the State Department when he suddenly collapsed. He was seen walking to the department's parking garage with the help of a person from State's medical office and taken to George Washington University Hospital a few blocks away.

Doctors worked more than 20 hours through the day on Friday and overnight to repair the tear in Holbrooke's aorta. The surgery was completed on Saturday morning, said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

By Saturday evening, Holbrooke was described as being in stable, but critical condition.

His family was said to be with him. Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been at the hospital as well, according to the White House. Clinton visited on Friday night and again on Saturday.

"Richard Holbrooke is a towering figure in American foreign policy, a critical member of my Afghanistan and Pakistan team, and a tireless public servant who has won the admiration of the American people and people around the world," Obama said in a statement.

Obama said he had spoken to Holbrooke's wife, Kati, on Saturday "and told her that Michelle and I are praying for Richard".

"We continue to pray for his recovery and support his family in this difficult time," said the president.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Top US envoy in critical condition after surgery

About the broadcaster:

Top US envoy in critical condition after surgery

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.