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Former Mayor Daley remains in ICU after suffering stroke-like symptoms

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

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Updated: March 4, 2014 6:17AM

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley watched Super Bowl coverage from his hospital bed in the intensive care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he will remain at least through midweek after suffering possible stroke-like symptoms on Friday during a business trip to Arizona.

Daley, 71, became ill and disoriented while attending a conference for his law firm, Katten Muchin Rosenman. The feeling persisted later that day while he was boarding a return flight to Chicago. Daley alerted family members, who insisted he get checked out and arranged to have an ambulance waiting when his plane landed, said Jacquelyn Heard, Daley’s longtime aide.

Daley was able to walk off the airplane, Daley family spokesman Rick Jasculca.

When asked about Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed’s report, citing a source, that Daley suffered stroke-like symptoms, Jasculca responded: “It could be, but I don’t want to confirm things I don’t personally know as fact.”

Daley was undergoing a battery of tests, some of which could not be completed over the weekend, Jasculca said. Daley has been in the company of his children, who were taking shifts staying in his hospital room, Heard said. She noted that from looking at Daley, you wouldn’t suspect anything was wrong with him.

A top Chicago Fire Department official was at Midway Airport to greet Daley, who arrived by private plane, sources said.

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

Daley has a history of medical issues in recent years.

In April 2000, after a 10-year stretch without undergoing a physical, 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 a daily aspirin tablet and a common blood-pressure medication were prescribed.

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.

In March 2002, Daley was admitted to Northwestern after fainting at Rosebud Steakhouse. He never lost consciousness, but he slumped in his chair and was semi-coherent for less than a minute before he came out of it and walked to an 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.

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

Contributing: Mitch Dudek, Matt McKinney, Becky Schlikerman and Tina Sfondeles

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