Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been released from hospital and will perform his duties remotely as he continues to recover from treatment for prostate cancer, the Pentagon has announced.
Lloyd Austin’s delay in telling colleagues and the White House about his illness sparked criticism and three investigations.
He was admitted to an intensive care unit on January 1st due to complications from surgery in December.
The 70-year old is expected to make a full recovery, his doctors said in a statement.
“Secretary Austin progressed well throughout his stay and his strength is rebounding,” said Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Lloyd Austin’s prostate cancer was treated early and effectively, and “his prognosis is excellent”, they said, adding that he has no further treatment planned.
The defense secretary is just below the president in the chain of command for the US military, and is regarded as one of the most important members of the Cabinet.
Lloyd Austin had a “minimally invasive” surgery to treat prostate cancer in late December. He was readmitted to hospital on New Year’s Day due to complications related to the procedure.
Senior defense officials and the White House did not learn that Lloyd Austin was seriously ill until three days after his re-admission.
That secrecy prompted security and transparency concerns and three investigations have since been launched into the handling of his health crisis.
President Joe Biden has said he remains confident in his secretary’s leadership but that it was “sub-optimal” that he had not disclosed the seriousness of his illness.
Lloyd Austin has since apologised for not keeping the public “appropriately informed”.
In statement on January 155, he thanked his medical team for the care he received.
“Now, as I continue to recuperate and perform my duties from home, I’m eager to fully recover and return as quickly as possible to the Pentagon,” he said.
The Pentagon said Lloyd Austin has “full access to required secure communications capabilities” as he works remotely.