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Former Mayor Daley taken to ICU after suffering stroke-like symptoms

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:54PM

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley was in intensive care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Saturday after suffering possible stroke-like symptoms while returning from a business trip to Arizona, a source told Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.

Daley, 71, was taken to Northwestern by ambulance Friday night upon his return to Chicago.

On the flight back, Daley became disoriented, according to Daley spokesman Rick Jasculca, who said the former mayor was able to walk off the plane but that an ambulance was waiting as a precaution. Longtime Daley aide Jacquelyn Heard said Daley’s family insisted he get checked out.

Daley remained at Northwestern for monitoring and evaluation, according to Jasculca.

“Now, they’re just running tests,” Jasculca said.

A source close to Daley downplayed the possibility of stroke-like symptoms and said the former mayor’s family was with him, visiting between tests.

A top Chicago Fire Department official was at Midway Airport to greet Daley, who arrived by private plane, sources said. The fire department was alerted while the plane was in transit, a source said.

The health scare came on the day Daley nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of David Koschman.

In March 2002, Daley was admitted to Northwestern after fainting at Rosebud Steakhouse. He never lost consciousness, but slumped in his chair and was semi-coherent for less than a minute, then came out of it and walked into the emergency room, a doctor said at the time. An ambulance had been called to the restaurant. Daley waved it off, but his bodyguard detail insisted he go to the hospital.

In April 2000, Daley was rushed to the hospital by ambulance after suffering chest pain at his South Loop home. He thought he was having a heart attack. It turned out to be hypertension. He was diagnosed with a congenital condition known as benign labile hypertension and prescribed a daily aspirin tablet and a common blood-pressure medication.

At the time, associates thought the health scare might have been caused by stress. It happened the same day the Chicago Sun-Times reported that mayoral pal Oscar D’Angelo had engineered a deal to put two friends of the mayor’s wife Maggie Daley in business as part of a lucrative bookstore concession at O’Hare Airport.

Before the April 2000 episode, Daley hadn’t had a physical in 10 years, a doctor said at the time.

The mayor’s father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, died of a heart attack at 74 a few years after having a stroke.

Fran Spielman,
Tina Sfondeles

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