(CN) – Fresh off the heels of an auspicious fundraising haul, bad news struck Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as chest pains forced him to have surgery for a clogged artery.
“During a campaign event yesterday evening, Sen. Sanders experienced some chest discomfort," the senator’s senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement Wednesday. "Following medical evaluation and testing he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stents were successfully inserted. Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Sanders campaign reported raising $25.3 million for the third quarter of 2019. He spent about $1.3 million on his first television ad in Iowa.
The 78-year-old Sanders has maintained a grueling schedule on the campaign trail and, before that, organizing for the midterm elections.
He has found good will from his top rivals wishing him a speedy recovery.
“Anyone who knows Bernie understands what a force he is,” former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted, on behalf of his family. “We are confident that he will have a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him on the trail soon.”
Two years Biden’s senior, Sanders is the oldest Democratic candidate in the presidential race. Younger candidates on occasion have tried to use age against the old guard. Most famously, California Representative Eric Swalwell told Biden to “pass the torch” to another generation, before he dropped out of the race in July.
But Sanders’ current and former aides emphasized the senator’s seemingly boundless energy.
“He is the hardest working human being I’ve ever known — he never stops fighting for the 99%,” speechwriter David Sirota wrote. “He is a true warrior — and we are all glad he is doing OK.”
Following the 2016 campaign, ex-Sanders surrogate Nomiki Konst took her own turn as a hopeful for New York City public advocate.
“I ran for office for six months in one city and lost my voice three times, had the flu, took naps under my desk - and all I kept thinking was: ‘IS BERNIE SUPERMAN?’” Konst reflected.
In the last few weeks, Sanders held a college tour in Los Angeles, California; a Medicare for All town hall and Presidential Gun Safety Forum event in Las Vegas, Nevada; and he joined Chicago teachers at a rally authorizing a strike there as well as General Motors’ union employees on a picket line.
Sanders had been audibly hoarse at his last Democratic debate — a fact that the pundits remarked upon as much as they did his policies to abolish the private insurance system.
The senator’s campaign has long complained about what they believe to be the senator’s unfair press coverage, saying he has been written off as the party’s nominee despite leading the Democratic fold in fundraising.
Reflecting this sentiment, a bureau chief for The Intercept — a news organization that has been reliably sympathetic to the Sanders campaign — tweeted: “We have figured out what it takes Bernie to get media coverage.”
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