Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to a Washington, D.C. area hospital due to "symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue," Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder revealed in a statement obtained by ABC News on Sunday (February 11).
"At this time, the Secretary is retaining the functions and duties of his office," Ryder said "The Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense, if required. Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties."
Ryder added that more information regarding Austin's hospitalization would be released "as soon as possible," noting that that the White House, Congress and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had all been notified about the defense secretary's status.
Lloyd had previously undergone a minimally invasive surgical procedure for prostate cancer in December, which resulted in a urinary tract infection, as well as serious intestinal complications. The defense secretary was later hospitalized on January 1, however, the White House wasn't notified for three days, which led to scrutiny over the secrecy of the events.
"I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis, and should also have told my team and the American public," Austin told reporters earlier this month via ABC News. "I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people."