Austin being treated for complications from prostate cancer during undisclosed absence, hospital

The statement follows Austin having gone to the hospital and his staff having not informed the White House or the public about the matter for several days.

Published: January 9, 2024 2:32pm

Updated: January 9, 2024 3:24pm

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin underwent a minimally invasive procedure in late-December related to previously diagnosed prostate cancer and quietly returned to the hospital earlier this month as a result of complications, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said Tuesday.

The revelation provides some insight into why Austin was hospitalized earlier this month without telling President Biden and others. 

Austin had the procedure on Dec. 22 and was admitted to Walter Reed on Jan. 1 for complications and for a urinary tract infection. His return to the hospital was not made known until Jan. 5.

According to the Associated Press, the delay in top officials finding out about Austin's hospitalization was due to a key staffer being out with the flu and was unable to inform them.

“Agencies should ensure that delegations are issued when a Cabinet Member is traveling to areas with limited or no access to communication, undergoing hospitalization or a medical procedure requiring general anesthesia, or otherwise in a circumstance when he or she may be unreachable,” White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients wrote in a memo. 

Officials said in a statement Tuesday that Austin’s “infection has cleared."

 Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a press briefing that Austin is now “actively engaged in his duties.”


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