WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sen. Edward Kennedy, the sole surviving son of America’s most famous political family, is “recuperating well” from brain surgery and should be released within a week from Duke University Medical Center, his office said on Tuesday.
“He is experiencing no complications, and has been walking the hallways, spending time with family and actively keeping up with the news of the day,” the Massachusetts senator’s office said in a statement.
Kennedy, 76, underwent surgery on Monday to remove a cancerous tumor and is expected to be released from the hospital in Durham, North Carolina next week.
“Senator Kennedy had a restful night’s sleep and is recuperating well,” said the statement.
“He looks forward to returning home to Cape Cod soon, and is thankful for all the prayers and well wishes,” it said, adding that an update will be given when Kennedy is discharged.
Kennedy was diagnosed on May 17 with a malignant brain tumor called a glioma, which usually kills within three years.
Dr. Allan Friedman, Duke’s chief of neurosurgery who performed Kennedy’s surgery, did not specify how much of the cancerous tumor he was able to remove.
But shortly after the procedure, Friedman called it “the first step” in a treatment plan that, following a brief recuperation, that will include radiation and chemotherapy.
Kennedy is the third longest serving senator in history, first elected more than four decades ago.
The longest serving senator ever — Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, 90, of West Virginia, who was first elected in 1958 — was also under hospital care on Tuesday.
He was admitted to a Washington-area hospital on late Monday after appearing lethargic and found to have a fever, a spokesman said.
Byrd “will remain in the hospital for several more days for monitoring and antibiotic treatment for a mild infection,” said an aide.
There was no word when Kennedy would be able to return to the Senate where he was elected in 1962 to fill a seat vacated by his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
Widely viewed as one of the most effective legislators in Congress and hugely influential within the Democratic Party, Kennedy has been a key supporter of presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In his absence from the Senate, Kennedy has asked Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut to take the lead on some of his pending legislation, including a bill to upgrade insurance coverage of mental illnesses.
Dodd is the second ranking Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chaired by Kennedy.
Editing by Chris Wilson