US defence secretary released from hospital

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Lloyd Austin addresses reportersImage source, Getty Images

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has been released from hospital and resumed his duties, the Pentagon has said.

Mr Austin, 70, was admitted to the critical care unit at a DC-area hospital on Sunday for symptoms of an “emergent bladder issue”.

While in hospital, he briefly transferred his duties to his deputy.

The Pentagon chief had been under scrutiny for failing to disclose his prostate cancer diagnosis and two hospital stays in December and January.

In a statement on Tuesday, his doctors said the secretary was in “good condition” after receiving non-surgical treatment for his bladder issues.

“The bladder issue was not related to his cancer diagnosis and will have no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis,” said Dr John Maddox and Dr Gregory Chesnut at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.

Earlier this year, senior defence officials and the Biden administration said they did not know of the cancer diagnosis or that the Pentagon chief was seriously ill until three days into his re-admission to hospital in January.

Mr Austin apologised for his handling of the incident and is expected to testify before Congress about his failure to advise officials of his illness later this month.

For this most recent hospital stay, the Pentagon said it had notified the White House and senior defence officials.

The defence secretary is just below the president in the chain of command for the US military and is regarded as one of the most important members of the cabinet.

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