Bernie Sanders had heart surgery Tuesday night after experiencing pain in his chest at a campaign event earlier in the day, senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement Wednesday. The 78-year-old Sanders had a blockage in one artery and had two stents inserted. He is now “conversing and in good spirits,” the statement said. All of his events and appearances have been canceled until further notice, and the campaign has reportedly begun canceling ad buys in Iowa, where it was due to begin airing its first TV ads of the campaign.
Sanders was hospitalized in Las Vegas, where he was due to appear at a gun-violence forum hosted by March for Our Lives and the Giffords group. He was due to visiting California later this week, followed by a trip to Iowa this weekend, the Times reported.
The oldest candidate in the race, Sanders was recently asked by Stephen Colbert about voters who may have concerns over his age. “I’m in good health and running a vigorous campaign,” he said after knocking on Colbert’s desk.
The full statement from Weaver reads: “During a campaign event yesterday evening, Sen. Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. 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.”
After news of Sanders’s procedure, his fellow Democratic candidates sent their well wishes.
In a tweet, Joe Biden sent his best wishes, adding, “Anyone who knows Bernie understands what a force he is. We are confident that he will have a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him on the trail soon.”
Elizabeth Warren tweeted: “Bruce, Team Warren, and I are sending all our best wishes for a speedy recovery to @BernieSanders. I hope to see my friend back on the campaign trail very soon.”
Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and others also tweeted their well wishes for the Vermont senator. So too did Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director. “All of us at @TeamTrump offer @BernieSanders,” he tweeted.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sanders tweeted that he’s “feeling good,” and underscored a central campaign message, reiterating his call for Medicare for All.
On Thursday, the campaign confirmed that Sanders will participate in the debate on October 15, and released an update stating that “there has been no need for additional procedures” following the initial surgery.
This post has been updated.