WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina collapsed during a Washington, D.C., race Wednesday morning and has been taken away by ambulance.
Tillis, 57, was seen on the ground being helped by bystanders at about the two-mile mark in the three-mile race in Anacostia Park in the southeast part of the city.
Washington D.C. fire officials told Channel 9 that Tillis never lost consciousness and was breathing when taken away by ambulance from the ACLI Capital Challenge 3 Mile Team Race.
(Sen. Thom Tillis gives update on condition from hospital)
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.
Tillis was responsive and talking at the hospital. The race director said he never lost consciousness and that medical staff staged at the race reacted quickly.
In a video posted from his hospital bed, Tillis said he was OK and that he was just overheated.
Officials said Tillis was one of two runners who collapsed and that the other runner received CPR.
He released a second video hours later of him inside his office on Capitol Hill. He thanked the first responders for helping him and also apologized to any runners he may have slowed down during the race.
(Sen. Thom Tillis thanks first responders)
Tillis is the junior North Carolina senator, elected to the Senate in November 2014 after serving in the North Carolina legislature from 2009-2015. He serves on the Senate Armed Services, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committees, as well as the Senate's Special Committee on Aging.
He is married to Susan Tillis with two children.
Thom Tillis career:
- Born in Jacksonville, Florida
- Graduated from University of Maryland-University College
- Moved to Cornelius with his wife and 2 children in 1998
- First began his involvement in public service by serving as the PTA president at his daughter's high school and a member of the Town of Cornelius Board of Commissioners
- Tillis ran for North Carolina House of Representatives in 2006 and defeated incumbent John W. Rhodes.
- Selected by his peers to serve as Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2014
- Ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 and defeated incumbent Kay Hagan
North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin issued the following statement after learning of Tillis' collapse:
In spite of our political differences, I and the staff at the North Carolina Democratic Party wish Senator Thom Tillis a full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family this morning.