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Thurmond Doing ‘Well’ After Collapse at Eatery

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From Associated Press

Sen. Strom Thurmond, at 97 the oldest person to serve in the Senate, appeared “to be doing very well” at a hospital Saturday after collapsing at a restaurant in suburban Alexandria, Va., his spokeswoman said.

Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have not determined why he collapsed, but “more than likely his condition can be attributed to dehydration,” spokeswoman Genevieve Erny said.

Thurmond (R-S.C.) will remain hospitalized through today for observation, Erny said.

Thurmond has been hospitalized several times in recent years for various problems, including fatigue, and he had prostate surgery in 1999. Erny said the collapse was unrelated to previous illnesses.

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Thurmond was lunching with a staff member and an acquaintance when he began to feel tired, Erny said. “He did momentarily lose consciousness for a second or two,” she said.

“He really looked tired,” said Christopher Swift, manager of the Southside 815 restaurant. “Basically as a precautionary measure, the two gentlemen with him asked us to call an ambulance.”

In May, Thurmond was released from Walter Reed after a three-day stay for what an aide said was a back problem.

Earlier that month, he was twice hospitalized for an upset stomach and fatigue.

Thurmond, the longest-serving senator and oldest member of Congress, was first elected to the Senate in 1954. When he was reelected to his eighth term in November 1996, Thurmond said it would be his last campaign. His term expires in January 2003.

He has always been proud of his health, even into his upper 90s. But starting in 1999, a succession of hospital visits called that into question.

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