Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has undergone emergency surgery for a blocked artery after experiencing “chest discomfort” during a campaign event, forcing him to cancel upcoming events, his campaign reported.
The Vermont senator had two stents inserted to relieve a blocked artery after feeling unwell during a campaign event on Tuesday, his campaign reported later that night, adding that Sanders “is conversing and in good spirits.” Campaign events and appearances have been cancelled “until further notice” while he recovers.
At 78 years old, Sanders is the oldest presidential candidate in the 2020 race – three years older than frontrunner Joe Biden, whose own apparent frailty has worried some in the Democratic Party. Until hospital testing revealed a blockage in one artery, Sanders was not known to be battling any serious health problems, and stent surgery is a relatively routine procedure.
On social media, establishment Democrats ran with the “Bernie had a heart attack” narrative, while Sanders supporters wished him a speedy recovery and reminded anyone panicking that the procedure was a common one.
Sanders is currently polling third in the Democratic primaries, behind Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. He recently called for a nationwide ban on fracking, citing the destructive environmental effects of the process, and a “tax on extreme wealth” that would apply a progressive one-percent tax to any individual with over $16 million in assets.