November 16, 2017 / 8:35 PM / in 8 months

Former head of U.S. Homeland Security Ridge in critical condition

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was rushed to an Austin hospital on Thursday and in critical condition after undergoing a heart procedure, officials said.

FILE PHOTO: Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge walks toward an interview site before Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and U.S. President Barack Obama meet in the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, U.S., October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity/File Photo

Ridge, 72, was attending a Republican Governors Association conference in the Texas capital when he called hotel staff seeking emergency medical help, his office said in a statement. He underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure at Dell Seton Medical Center and has been responsive with physicians, it said.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed Ridge was in critical condition at the facility but did not offer further information.

Less than a month after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Ridge, a Republican, resigned as governor of Pennsylvania and came to Washington to become then-President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser.

Fifteen months later, Ridge became secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when it was created in the biggest government revamp in 50 years.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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