AUSTIN, Texas (AP/KDKA) – A spokesman says former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was in critical condition after undergoing an emergency heart procedure at a hospital in Austin, Texas.
Ridge spokesman Steve Aaron says the 72-year-old Ridge, Pennsylvania’s Republican governor from 1995 to 2001, was attending the Republican Governors Association conference when he called for help at his hotel about 7 a.m.
The spokesman says Ridge underwent a cardiac catheterization at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.
Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement:
“Frances and I are praying for Governor Ridge and his whole family, especially Michele and their kids. We know Tom is a fighter and the Ridges should know that all of Pennsylvania is pulling for them as he recovers.”
Aaron says Ridge has been responsive with physicians.
He was the nation’s first homeland security secretary, serving under President George W. Bush until 2005.
Former Governor Tom Corbett, who has known Ridge for years, had a similar procedure.
“I think anytime you’ve had a heart attack, that’s going to be critical in the very beginning, and they wait a day or two to see how you grow out of it,” he said. “To me, I’m pretty sure they said I was in critical condition the first day, and I felt pretty good. So I hope that is the case with him.”
Corbett said it was “absolutely” a good sign Ridge was talking to his doctors “and he recognized that he was having a problem, and that’s good.”
According to YourErie.com, Dave Ridge, Tom’s brother, has said that the former governor’s status has been upgraded to serious but stable.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)