Spokesman: Tom Ridge hospitalized with a stroke. Former PA governor in stable but critical condition

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Former Gov. Tom Ridge, a longtime Erie resident who also served as the first Secretary of Homeland Security, has been hospitalized with a stroke, according to a statement from his spokesman.

The statement from spokesman Steve Aaron is as follows:

"WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tom Ridge, the 43rd governor of Pennsylvania and first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in the Washington, D.C. area this morning after having suffered a stroke at his residence in Bethesda, MD. Gov. Ridge, 75, was conscious when he arrived at the emergency department and later underwent a successful procedure to remove a blood clot. He remains in critical but stable condition.

Erie native Tom Ridge, who is a former Secretary of Homeland Security, Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Congressman, addresses the audience while introducing his brother David Ridge, who was sworn in as a new Erie County judge during a ceremony that included other elected officials, Jan. 3, 2020, in Courtroom H at the Erie County Courthouse.
Erie native Tom Ridge, who is a former Secretary of Homeland Security, Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Congressman, addresses the audience while introducing his brother David Ridge, who was sworn in as a new Erie County judge during a ceremony that included other elected officials, Jan. 3, 2020, in Courtroom H at the Erie County Courthouse.

"The family requests your prayers for a full recovery. Further updates will be provided as events warrant."

This is not Ridge's first brush with a serious health concern.

In November 2017, Ridge was in Austin, Texas, attending the Republican Governors Association conference, when he called for help at his hotel room.

At that time, Ridge underwent a cardiac catheterization at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.

In a 2018 interview with the Erie Times-News, Ridge said that he had suffered a massive heart attack and was in a coma for five days.

“My wife, Michele, told me she had the priest come in and give me last rites,” Ridge said at the time.

Ridge said in 2018 that he had lost 15 pounds, made some modest lifestyle changes and was feeling "pretty much back to where I was.”

"You wake up and you realize you’ve been given the gift of a second chance, so you take advantage of it,” Ridge said.

Ridge was the nation’s first homeland security secretary, serving under President George W. Bush until February 2005. He left the governorship after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to join the Bush administration.

He managed the far-flung department, composed of 22 agencies and about 180,000 employees by the time he left.

Since leaving government, Ridge has headed Ridge Global, a firm that advises on cybersecurity, international security and risk management.

More recently, Ridge has been in the news as one of a group of 150 Republicans taking part in "A Call for American Renewal." The group is threatening to create a new political party if the GOP continues to align with former President Donald Trump.

A U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, Ridge was an assistant district attorney in Erie County and a six-term congressman before he was elected governor in 1994.

He and his wife, Michele, have homes in Erie and Bethesda, Maryland.

Contact Jim Martin at 814-870-1668 or jmartin@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNMartin.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Tom Ridge: Former PA governor hospitalized following stroke.

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