Politics & Government

Former Sen. Kay Hagan in hospital ICU, brother says

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan from North Carolina served from 2009 to 2015, when she lost to Republican Thom Tillis.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan from North Carolina served from 2009 to 2015, when she lost to Republican Thom Tillis. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has been in an intensive care unit for about two days since she became ill and was taken to a Washington, D.C., hospital.

Hagan, 63, was taken to the hospital Thursday. Her hospitalization was first reported in the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger, which spoke with Hagan’s brother, Joe Ruthven, a Lakeland resident.

Hagan’s family released a statement Saturday thanking people for their prayers and well-wishes.

“Kay is receiving the best possible medical care and we are very thankful for her doctors and nurses who are working tirelessly to help her get well,” the statement said.

Hagan’s family has asked for privacy and declined to release specifics of her condition.

Hagan, a Democrat, served 10 years in the state Senate and was one of the chamber’s top budget writers.

In 2008, she won a U.S. Senate seat, defeating Elizabeth Dole.

Six years later, Hagan was unseated by Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in what was then the nation’s most expensive Senate race.

Hagan has a law degree and worked as a vice president in the estates and trust division and the private banking division at North Carolina National Bank, a predecessor of Bank of America, in Greensboro.

More recently, Hagan has been working as a consultant for Capitol Hill lobbying and law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. She splits her time between Washington and North Carolina, firm spokesman Benjamin Harris said.

Hagan was also involved in state efforts for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

As news of Hagan’s hospitalization emerged on Saturday, politicians and others expressed support for her.

Gov.-elect Roy Cooper served with Hagan in the state Senate in the late 1990s and said his thoughts were with his friend.

“From our time together in the N.C. Senate until now she has been a dedicated leader who works for what is best for our state and the country,” Cooper said in a statement. “Kristin and I are praying for her and the Hagan family during this difficult time.”

Former rival Tillis also said Saturday via his Twitter account that he would be praying for Hagan.

“Wishing her a speedy recovery back to good health,” he tweeted.

Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi