Tom Ridge suffers stroke, hospitalized in critical condition

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Tom Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania and the first U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, suffered a stroke Wednesday at his residence in a suburb outside of Washington, D.C.

A statement by his family said Ridge was transported from his home in Bethesda, Md., by an ambulance to a hospital where he arrived still conscious.

The 75-year old then underwent a successful emergency procedure to remove a blood clot.

He remains in critical but stable condition, his family reported. 

Ridge served as Pennsylvania’s governor from 1995 to 2001 before he entered the George W. Bush administration as the nation’s first Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of 9/11.

He oversaw 22 agencies and 180,000 employees while he was with the DHS.

Ridge helped to establish a color-coded system that ranked terrorism threats.

The former Vietnam War Army veteran also advocated for “disaster kits” which at one point led to shortages in duct tape and plastic sheeting.

He now serves as the chairman of Ridge Global, a security firm that focuses on cyber threats, international security, and risk management.

“The family requests your prayers for a full recovery. Further updates will be provided as events warrant,” the Ridge family said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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