Image: Colin Powell
Lawrence Jackson  /  AP file
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell fell ill at a restaurant from a combination of altitude sickness and something he ate, a police spokesperson said.
updated 7/7/2006 9:44:04 AM ET 2006-07-07T13:44:04

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was briefly hospitalized early Friday after he fell ill at a restaurant where he was dining with former President Clinton and others, police said.

Aspen police Sgt. Bill Linn said the four-star general told him it appeared to be a combination of altitude sickness and something he ate.

“He is conscious and in very good spirits,” Linn said shortly before Powell was released from Aspen Valley Hospital at 1:45 a.m. Linn said Powell asked him to speak with reporters.

Powell’s Alexandria, Va.-based secretary, Peggy Cifrino, did not immediately return a phone call left at her office.

A nursing supervisor at the hospital, where former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay was rushed to and pronounced dead early Wednesday, refused to comment.

Powell, 69, was in Colorado for the Aspen Ideas Festival, a conference in its second year that invites some of the world’s leading thinkers.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and chief strategist of the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq served as President Bush’s secretary of state from 2001 until January 2005, when he was replaced by Condoleezza Rice.

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