Published Online: January 20, 2009

Sen. Kennedy’s Condition Uncertain After Collapse

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., battling a brain tumor, became ill at a post-inauguration luncheon for President Barack Obama on Tuesday and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

There was no immediate word from medical personnel on his condition.

"It looked like a seizure," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said he was with Kennedy until they reached the ambulance.

Kennedy, who is 76 and is chairman of the Senate education committee, had appeared in good health and spirits hours earlier when he stepped out of the Capitol and onto the inauguration platform where Obama took the oath of office.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 91, also was taken from the luncheon but it was not clear whether his departure was prompted by his health.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., right, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
—Ron Edmonds/AP

During a talk to members of Congress and others, Obama called attention to Kennedy, saying "I know that while I was out of the room, concerned was expressed about Teddy."

Obama said that Kennedy "was there when the voting rights act passed, along with John Lewis, was a warrior for justice."

"And so I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now a part of me is with him," Obama added. "And I think that's true for all of us. This is a joyous time. But it's also a sobering time. And my prayers are with him and his family and (Kennedy's wife) Vicki."

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