Richard Holbrooke, the veteran American diplomat whose duties in the Obama administration include serving as U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is in critical condition after surgery to repair a torn aorta in his heart.
Holbrooke, 69, fell ill during a Friday morning meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and made his way to the agency's infirmary, officials said. He was then rushed by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital, where initial reports said he was being treated for a blood clot.
In a statement Saturday morning, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that Holbrooke had come out of heart surgery this morning and "had been joined by his family."
Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union
, "Anyone who knows him, and I was with him Friday morning before this happened, knows how tough and resilient he is and we're all praying that that quality sees him through now."
Holbrooke is a renowned envoy probably best known for his tireless work brokering an end to the fighting in Bosnia in the mid-1990s. He has served as key diplomatic adviser for every president since Jimmy Carter -- and is invariably on the short list of potential Secretaries of State.
In the Obama administration, Holbrooke has mostly split his time between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In recent months he has been preparing a report on the current state of governance and development in Afghanistan.
Also Friday, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner was taken to the same hospital for treatment of a kidney stone. Geithner was expected to undergo minor surgery and be released Friday.