NC senator says ‘I’m fine’ after race collapse
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said Wednesday he’s “fine” after collapsing during a Washington, D.C., race and being taken away by ambulance.
Tillis posted a video on Twitter from his hospital bed hours after the early morning race, still dressed in his running gear.
“Hey everybody, I’m fine,” he said, and went on to explain that he was just overheated.
His office sent out a second video message Wednesday afternoon, after Tillis had returned to the Senate. In the video, Tillis was wearing a suit and sitting in his office. He thanked the first responders, good Samaritans and hospital workers who assisted him.
“I also want to apologize to some of the people who I may have slowed down their lap time if they happened to be behind me,” Tillis said. “But I’m back, ready to get to work.”
Shortly before the video was released, Tillis was chatting with staff on the Senate floor.
Tillis, 56, was seen on the ground at about 15-20 minutes into the race, which started at 8 a.m. Bystanders were observed working on the senator in what appeared to be cardiac pulmonary resuscitation.
In the first video, Tillis said there was “no CPR, no special measures, just checking me out.” But a statement released by his office along with the second video said “several good Samaritans, including Capitol Police, immediately provided assistance to the Senator, including chest compressions.”
The statement said Tillis was dehydrated and overheated, and was released from the hospital after receiving a clean bill of health.
At the race, Tillis at first appeared unconscious but was revived and breathing when taken away by ambulance. Tillis was participating in the ACLI Capital Challenge race, an annual event in Anacostia Park in the district. He was leading his own team, “Team Tillis.”
Many politicians and other prominent Washington, D.C., figures run the annual race. Proceeds go to charity.
When not in Washington, Tillis lives north of Charlotte. He’s a former speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives and was elected to the Senate in 2014.
Tillis is known for his athleticism as an avid mountain biker and participant in obstacle endurance races.
He is married to Susan Tillis and has two children.
Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.