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Ex-Iowa Gov. Suffers Heart Attack

December 18, 2000

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad suffered a heart attack Monday and was hospitalized in serious condition.

Branstad, 54, a Republican, served 16 years as governor beginning in 1982.

Branstad had chest pains as he and his wife, Chris, left the downtown YMCA following their morning exercise, said Eric Woolson, his former press secretary.

``He got out of the car. He said he felt weak and laid down″ on the ground, Woolson told reporters at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. Branstad’s wife drove him to the hospital, Woolson said.

Branstad underwent a standard angiogram that revealed blockage in one heart artery, and doctors then performed a balloon angioplasty to reopen the blood vessel, he said.

Woolson said Branstad’s condition was stabilizing after the 2 1/2 hours of tests and treatment, although the hospital listed him in serious condition. He said he did not know how long Branstad would remain hospitalized.

Employees at the YMCA said Branstad and his wife had left around 6:30 a.m. The couple waved to the desk clerk as they walked out, Nathan Quintana said.

``It was just a ‘hi’ and she acknowledged them leaving and they walked out the door,″ Quintana said. ``He looked like most people looked in the morning.″

Branstad regularly used the health club and normally works out on a treadmill, said Gordon Exhtenkamp, the YMCA’s acting chief executive officer.

Since leaving the Statehouse, Branstad has worked in the private sector on several projects, and in August he started work as a financial adviser in the Des Moines office of Robert W. Baird Inc., a Milwaukee-based investment and brokerage firm owned by Northwestern Mutual Life.

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