Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to a hospital Sunday to be examined for “symptoms suggestive of an emerging bladder problem,” the Pentagon said. said in a report.
On Sunday afternoon, he transferred the duties of his office to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House and Congress have been briefed,” Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.
Austin remained hospitalized Sunday evening, the Pentagon said.
Sunday afternoon's announcement came just weeks after Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December and hospitalized Dec. 22 for a related procedure.
Austin transferred her authority to Hicks the next day, but neither she nor President Biden knew Austin was in the hospital. He was hospitalized again on January 1 for complications related to the first procedure. Biden did not learn of the hospitalization until January 4.
Members of Congress criticized Austin for hiding the diagnosis and treatment from the president and lawmakers, prompting the 70-year-old to hold a news conference earlier this month and apologize.
“We didn’t handle this properly and I didn’t handle this properly,” Austin said. “I should have informed the president of my cancer diagnosis. I should have informed my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility for that.”
The Pentagon said Austin security took him to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday and would provide updates on his condition.