(Updates with release from hospital)
By Kristina Cooke and Edith Honan
NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, often mentioned as a possible Republican U.S. presidential candidate, was released from hospital on Thursday evening after undergoing tests for breathing difficulties.
Christie, 48, who is heavily overweight and has asthma, was given “routine tests as a precautionary measure,” spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement earlier on Thursday.
“I feel great now,” Christie told reporters outside Somerset Hospital in New Jersey. “Now I‘m hoping to go home, get a little sleep and I’ll be back to work tomorrow.”
Christie was admitted to hospital on Thursday morning after experiencing shortness of breath and lightheadedness on the way to an event.
He underwent a “battery of tests” which came back normal, Christie said, adding he would follow up with his doctor next week.
He has no public events scheduled for Friday.
The Republican governor has repeatedly said that he is not running for the White House. Earlier this month, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said Christie was on his short-list for vice president if Romney wins the Republican Party’s presidential nomination next year.
Christie has been a rising Republican star since taking office last year with a low-tax, lean-government agenda, and erasing a record $11 billion budget deficit while limiting annual increases in the state’s high property taxes.
He has publicly acknowledged struggling with his weight problem. He frequently jokes about it, and once told radio host Don Imus in mock exaggeration that he weighed 550 pounds (250 kg).
Christie said he did not see a direct connection between his weight and Thursday’s asthma attack.
But, he said, “if I weighed less I’d be healthier. I’ve been taking it seriously. It’s one of the major struggles of my life. I‘m working on it.” (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)