AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the nation’s first secretary of Homeland Security, is recovering in a Texas hospital after undergoing a heart procedure Thursday.
Ridge was attending the Republican Governors Association conference at a Marriott Hotel in Austin. His spokesman Steve Aaron said Ridge called hotel staff Thursday morning for medical assistance. He was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, where he underwent a cardiac catheterization, a diagnostic heart procedure.
Aaron said that Ridge, 72, has been communicating with his physicians, but is in critical condition.
“The governor’s friends and family are grateful to the Marriott hotel’s emergency services team, the paramedics who quickly responded, and to the hospital’s cardiac staff, nurses and ER physicians for their tremendous professionalism, caring and concern,” Aaron said.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement: “We know Tom is a fighter and the Ridges should know that all of Pennsylvania is pulling for them as he recovers.”
Ridge, a six-term congressman, was Pennsylvania’s governor from 1995 to 2001, before leaving the post after the Sept. 11 attacks to join the Bush administration. He served as the country’s first homeland security secretary until 2005.
He now heads Ridge Global, which advises on cyber security, international security and risk management.