Holbrooke critical after surgery for torn aorta - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Holbrooke critical after surgery for torn aorta

WASHINGTON (AP) - Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke remains in critical condition today after surgery to fix a tear in the large artery that moves blood from the heart.

Doctors at George Washington University Hospital worked more than 20 hours through the day Friday and overnight to repair the tear in Holbrooke's aorta.

The 69-year-old special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan underwent an additional procedure today to improve circulation.

President Barack Obama says he and first lady Michelle Obama are praying for Holbrooke's recovery. Obama calls the diplomat "a towering figure in American foreign policy" who has been a critical player in developing the administration's policy on Afghanistan.

The State Department says Holbrooke has received calls from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Richard Holbrooke headshot, as US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, on texture, partial graphic

 (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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