The Pentagon announced that Austin had transferred his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
Austin’s hospital stay remains uncertain, and his cancer prognosis remains excellent.
His hospital stay could affect his plans to travel to Brussels for a meeting on the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The Pentagon has announced that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has transferred duties to his deputy while hospitalized for an “emergent bladder issue.” Mr. Austin, aged 70, is currently in the critical care unit at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. Officials have stated that the duration of his hospital stay remains uncertain.
Mr. Austin faced scrutiny for his failure to disclose his prostate cancer diagnosis and hospitalizations in December and January. On Sunday afternoon, the Pentagon released a statement indicating that it had taken Mr. Austin to Walter Reed for treatment, with notification given to the White House and senior defense officials.
Hours later, at approximately 16:55 local time (21:55 GMT), the Pentagon issued a second statement announcing that Mr. Austin had “transferred the functions and duties of the office” to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. Subsequently, the hospital provided an update stating that, following testing, the secretary had been admitted to the critical care unit “for supportive care and close monitoring.”
The doctors affirmed that the bladder issue is not anticipated to alter Mr. Austin’s “anticipated full recovery” following a prostate cancer diagnosis in December. They also confirmed that his cancer prognosis remains excellent.
It remains uncertain if his hospital stay will hinder his plans to travel to Brussels this week for a Wednesday meeting on the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Late last year, Mr. Austin underwent surgery as part of his cancer treatment. On New Year’s Day, severe pain in his leg, hip, and abdomen due to complications from the procedure prompted his readmission to the hospital. An evaluation revealed a urinary tract infection, and he remained hospitalized for over two weeks.
Senior defense officials and the Biden administration were unaware of Mr. Austin’s serious illness until three days after his readmission in January.
During a press conference last week, Mr. Austin stated that he had never instructed anyone on his staff to conceal his time in the hospital from the White House or the public. However, he did not address whether staffers had acted against his orders.
US defense secretary Lloyd Austin kept his cancer diagnosis secret
Austin, 70, was hospitalized on January 1 and later moved to intensive...