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U.S. Secretary of Defense diagnosed with cancer

U.S. Secretary of Defense diagnosed with cancer Lloyd Austin, Head of the U.S. Pentagon (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Medics diagnosed the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, with cancer. He underwent surgery, reports CNBC.

Medical professionals discovered prostate cancer in Lloyd Austin at the beginning of December 2023. However, by December 22nd, Austin underwent anesthesia for a prostatectomy, a surgery aimed at treating the cancer.

On January 1st, 2024, complications and a decline in his health were detected. Initial examinations revealed a urinary tract infection. By January 2nd, he was admitted to Walter Reed's intensive care unit. Later, the decision was made to transfer him to the ICU for careful monitoring and an elevated level of care.

Secrecy surrounding Austin's hospitalization

Austin stands sixth in line for the U.S. presidency in the event of other officials' incapacitation. However, it was discovered that U.S. President Joe Biden and Austin's deputies were informed about his hospitalization only three days later.

"I want to underscore that Secretary Austin has taken responsibility for the issues with transparency. And the Department will be taking steps to improve our notification procedures" stated Pentagon spokesperson, Air Force Major General Pete Ryder.

However, such secrecy contradicts the standard practice with U.S. presidents and other high-ranking officials and members of the government.

Nevertheless, on January 7th, Austin himself announced that he had fully recovered and was eagerly anticipating his imminent return to the Pentagon.

Who is Lloyd Austin?

In 2020, the U.S. President appointed Austin as the Secretary of Defense. He became the first African American to lead the Pentagon in history. Before this, Austin served on the boards of directors of several commercial companies, including Raytheon Technologies and Nucor.

However, in 2016, he left military service. Before that, he had held the position of Commander of the United States Central Command since 2013.

It's worth noting that Austin is a key figure determining the extent of U.S. assistance to Ukraine.