(Reuters) – Tom Ridge, who served as the first head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005, was released on Tuesday from Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, a spokesman said.
Ridge, 72, suffered a heart attack on Nov. 16 and was in critical condition that day when he was treated at the hospital, spokesman Steve Aaron said.
His treatment at the hospital continued until he was transferred on Tuesday to a rehabilitation facility where he will work to regain his strength. “I am making great progress, feeling much better and am looking forward to the rehab which will be an important part of my recovery,” Ridge said in a statement.
Ridge, a Republican who lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C., had suffered a heart attack on Nov. 16 during his visit to Texas for a Republican Governors Association conference.
Less than a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Ridge resigned as governor of Pennsylvania and came to Washington to become then-President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser.
Fifteen months later, Ridge became secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when it was created in the largest government revamp in 50 years. Ridge served in the position until 2005.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)