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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is already suffering from a stomach virus, fainted earlier this week and suffered a concussion, an aide at the U.S. State Department said on Saturday. It will force her to miss scheduled congressional hearings into the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.
An aide, Philippe Reines, said the 65-year-old secretary of state had become dehydrated and fainted, causing a concussion. "She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors," Reines said. State Department officials declined to say when and where the incident occurred.
Dr. Lisa Bardack of Mount Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University said the stomach virus had led to what they described as extreme dehydration. "Over the course of this week we evaluated her and ultimately determined she had also sustained a concussion," they said in a joint statement.
The former First Lady had already been forced to cancel a trip to Morocco earlier in the week, and doctors have recommended she should continue to rest and avoid strenuous activity. "She will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with Department and other officials," Reines said, adding that she is looking forward to being back in the office soon.
The illness means Clinton will not be able to testify as scheduled at congressional hearings on Thursday into the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan port city of Benghazi. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens.
"I am sorry to learn of Secretary Clinton's ill health and I wish her a quick and full recovery," said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "It is, however, unfortunate that Secretary Clinton is unable to testify next week before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the investigation into the terrorist attack that killed four Americans and left others injured."
Clinton, who is expected to step down at the beginning of Obama's second term as president, had been called to testify before the congressional hearings to find out more about the State Department's findings of the Accountability Review Board and how to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.
In January 2005, at the time a U.S. Senator, Clinton was also suffering from a stomach virus and fainted while giving a speech to roughly 125 people at the Saturn Club in Buffalo, New York. She quickly downplayed the episode, saying it was "not as dramatic as it sounds," but later canceled another speech for health reasons.