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Friends Visit Ailing Rep. Moakley

May 26, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Family members gathered at the bedside of Rep. J. Joseph Moakley, who is fighting incurable leukemia and has spent nearly a week in the hospital.

Kevin Ryan, Moakley’s chief of staff, said the 74-year-old congressman was in stable condition at Bethesda Naval Hospital in suburban Maryland. Moakley, D-Mass., has been hospitalized since Monday, when he was admitted for a routine blood transfusion treatment that typically lasts a day or two.

A hospital spokesman did not immediately return a message Saturday.

Moakley’s two brothers arrived from Massachusetts to keep vigil. Staff and lawmakers had spent time with the ailing congressman.

``We’re all just really upset at what he’s going through,″ Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., told a Boston television station during a visit to the hospital. ``We all have a heavy heart right now.″

Rep. James McGovern, a former Moakley aide, also visited.

Moakley was hospitalized at Bethesda for three days in April for a high fever.

Moakley announced Feb. 12 that he had an incurable form of leukemia and would not run for a 16th term. He has had several health problems over the years, including a liver transplant, removal of most of his kidneys and a right hip replacement.

He nearly retired in 1995 when his health slipped and his wife, Evelyn, became sick with a brain tumor. With her encouragement, he stayed on the job. She died that year.

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