U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was transported to the hospital Sunday afternoon for a bladder issue, according to a statement from a Pentagon spokesperson.

For now, Austin will continue to carry out the duties of his office, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said, but Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks is prepared to assume his duties if needed.

Austin’s security detail took him to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he retains the “unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties,” Ryder said.

The White House and Congress have been notified of his condition, along with Hicks and Gen. Charles Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin waits for the arrival of Kenyan Defense Minister Aden Duale during a honor cordon at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Feb. 7, 2024.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Austin had undergone a minimally invasive procedure in December for his prostate cancer. He later revealed he was hospitalized for several days when the procedure resulted in a bladder infection and abdominal problems.

Earlier this month, he publicly apologized for his delay in informing the White House of his hospitalization. He added that the Pentagon had introduced new procedures to ensure timely notification in the future.

“I’ve learned from this experience that taking this kind of job means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect,” Austin said during a Feb. 1 press conference. “The American people have a right to know if their leaders are facing health challenges that might affect their ability to perform their duties, even temporarily.”

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