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Sen. Kennedy rushed to hospital with undisclosed illness, reports say

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was rushed to a hospital in Cape Cod, Mass., with an undisclosed illness and then to Boston, according to news reports.

MSNBC reported that the Senate's second-most senior member was taken to the hospital in Cape Cod from Hyannisport, Mass., with an undisclosed illness.

The Associated Press quoted a source as saying that Kennedy had apparent stroke-like symptoms. The family issued a statement saying his condition was being evaluated and that information would be released as it became available.

The Cape Cod Times reported on its Web site that Kennedy had fallen ill at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport and was first taken to Cape Cod and then by air ambulance to Boston.

"Hyannis fire responded to the compound after a call was made around 8:30 a.m.," the newspaper said in an online report. "It's unclear what Kennedy's medical condition is, but after he spent almost two hours in the emergency room a decision was made to transfer him to Mass General Hospital in Boston.

"Kennedy, 76, was placed on a stretcher and wheeled out to the MedFlight helicopter around 10:15 a.m. where it took off from Barnstable Municipal Airport."

In October, Kennedy had surgery to repair a nearly complete blockage in a major neck artery. The discovery was made during a routine examination of a decades-old back injury.

The hourlong procedure on his left carotid artery - a main supplier of blood to the face and brain - was performed at Massachusetts General. This type of operation is performed on more than 180,000 people a year to prevent a stroke.

The doctor who operated on Kennedy said at the time that surgery is reserved for those with more than 70 percent blockage, and Kennedy had "a very high-grade blockage."

Kennedy has been in the Senate since election in 1962, filling out the term won by his brother, John F. Kennedy.

He is the lone surviving son in a famed political family. His eldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a World War II airplane crash. President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother Robert was assassinated in 1968.

This report includes information from The Associated Press, MSNBC and capecodonline.com.

Also online: Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com/

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