From WILL - News Headlines -

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk Undergoes Surgery After Stroke

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), 52, has suffered a stroke and has undergone surgery.

Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois on Saturday. He was later transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where tests revealed that he had suffered a stroke.

Doctors say the stroke occurred on the right side of Kirk's brain, which controls movement of the left arm and left leg. A statement from Kirk's office said he had a tear in the carotid artery on the right side of his neck. Carotid arteries carry blood to the brain. He underwent surgery early Monday morning to relieve brain swelling.

Kirk is in intensive care, but doctors say they are happy with his status, noting that the Senator appeared to recognize those around him and respond to commands.

A statement from Kirk's office said the surgery was successful and that doctors are "very confident'' in his recovery based on his age and health.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) released a statement, saying he expects Kirk will make a speedy recovery.

"I was stunned to learn that Mark suffered a stroke," Durbin said. "I have reached out to his staff and offered to do anything I can to help with his Senate duties."

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also issued a statement about Kirk's condition:

"Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the senator and his family as we wish him a swift and strong recovery. We can all take comfort knowing that as a Navy commander, Sen. Kirk knows how to fight and he will fight through this to return to his work on behalf of the people of Illinois as quickly as possible."

Kirk at times exaggerated his record in the Navy Reserves. He incorrectly said he had been named intelligence officer of the year and took part in the invasion of Iraq. He said he came under fire while on a military flight but wouldn't provide details and stopped making the claim when questioned about it.

"I'm not perfect. I made a mistake and then apologized," Kirk said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press. "Going forward, the question we have and the choice we make as to who our senator is has a lot less to do with what happened in the 20th century and a lot more with what's happening in the 21st century."

Kirk ended up filling President Barack Obama's old Senate seat in 2010, defeating Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in a close race. Kirk previous served in the U.S. House of Representatives for about 10 years.

He is divorced and has no children.

(Photo by Sean Powers/WILL)