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Thurmond Hopes To Leave Hospital

October 1, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sen. Strom Thurmond, hospitalized overnight after losing consciousness in a restaurant, was ``doing very well″ and hoped to go home Monday, his spokeswoman said Sunday.

Thurmond, 97, the oldest senator in U.S. history, was ``very alert″ when aide Genevieve Erny spoke with him in the morning.

``He seems to be doing very well,″ Erny said. ``They still have not conclusively determined the cause of the occurrence, but ... it may be the result of dehydration.″

Thurmond, R-S.C., was having lunch with two friends Saturday in an Alexandria, Va., restaurant when he took ill and lay his head on the table. After restaurant workers called an ambulance, Thurmond was taken first to an Alexandria hospital before transferring to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Erny said doctors expected Thurmond to leave Walter Reed on Monday.

She said Thurmond had been very tired Saturday and briefly lost consciousness, but ``even after the incident occurred, he was still doing well as far as sitting up, speaking with staffers, joking with staffers.″

Thurmond has been hospitalized several times in recent years for various problems and had prostate surgery in 1999.

In May, Thurmond spent three days in Walter Reed for what an aide said was a back problem. Earlier that month, he was twice hospitalized for upset stomach and fatigue.

Erny said Saturday’s episode was unrelated to Thurmond’s previous illnesses.

The longest-serving senator and oldest member of Congress, Thurmond was first elected to the Senate in 1954. When he was re-elected to his eighth Senate term in November 1996, Thurmond said it would be his last campaign. His term expires in January 2003.

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