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91-year-old Sen. Byrd hospitalized

The 91-year-old West Virginia senator has been hospitalized with what his office says is a spike in temperature.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, during a committee hearing in Washington, in this April 16, 2008 file photo.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.V., is expected to be released from the hospital within a few days.Daniel Rosenbaum / Redux Pictures
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 91 and the longest-serving senator in history, was hospitalized last Friday with a temperature spike evidently caused by a minor infection, his office announced Monday.

Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, "is being treated with antibiotics, responding well and is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days," the office said in a statement.

Byrd has been in Congress since 1952 and was first elected to the Senate six years later.

He has been plagued by health problems in recent years, uses a wheelchair and sometimes appears frail. He has been hospitalized several times.

He stepped down as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee last November, but not before first chastising party leaders whom he said had been discussing his removal.

In the statement, Byrd's office said the senator was hospitalized late Friday afternoon as a "precautionary measure." It said his doctors attributed the temperature to a minor infection.

The statement did not say why no word was released for more than 48 hours after the senator was taken to the hospital, nor did it identify the facility where he is being treated.