Retiring Virginia House speaker has emergency heart surgery

Updated: Jan. 3, 2018 at 11:34 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state House Speaker William Howell is recovering from emergency heart surgery.

Spokesman Matthew Moran said Howell had surgery Tuesday evening after experiencing chest pains.

Moran said Howell is set to spend a few days recovering in the intensive care unit at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg.

The 74-year-old Howell announced his retirement last year and his term in office ends next week when the 2018 legislative session begins.

Here's the full statement:

Speaker Howell underwent emergency heart surgery last night after having chest pains late yesterday afternoon. The surgeons report the procedure went well, but the Speaker will be in the Intensive Care Unit for a few days. The family is asking for prayers for a quick and strong recovery, as well as privacy so the Speaker can continue to rest. He is recovering at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. 

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