Lloyd Austin: US Defence Secretary released from hospital

President Joe Biden says he still has confidence in Pentagon chief despite cabinet official keeping surgery a secret

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has been released from the hospital following complications from his prostate-cancer surgery. AFP
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US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from Walter Reed Medical Centre in Maryland on Monday following complications from surgery to treat prostate cancer, the Pentagon said.

Mr Austin is expected to recuperate and work remotely before returning full-time to the Pentagon, the Defence Department said.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

“Secretary Austin progressed well throughout his stay and his strength is rebounding,” Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre doctors John Maddox and Gregory Chestnut said in a statement.

“He underwent a series of medical tests and evaluations and received non-surgical care during his stay to address his medical needs, to include resolving some lingering leg pains.”

They also said there are no plans for further cancer treatment.

“I'm grateful for the excellent care I received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre and want to thank the outstanding doctors and nursing staff for their professionalism and superb support,” Mr Austin said in a statement.

“I also am thankful and appreciative for all the well wishes I received for a speedy recovery.”

Mr Austin was admitted to Walter Reed on December 22 for prostate cancer treatment and returned on January 1 due to complications from the procedure.

The Pentagon kept Mr Austin's health a secret from the public – as well as President Joe Biden – until January 5, during a time that saw increased tension in the Middle East.

Mr Biden last week acknowledged the Pentagon chief had displayed a lapse in judgment, although reiterated his confidence in the cabinet official.

Updated: January 16, 2024, 8:55 AM