Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina posted a video Wednesday afternoon saying he’s “back on the Hill” after collapsing during a morning foot race in Washington, D.C., and being taken away in an ambulance.
Tillis, seated at a desk, wore a coat and tie in the brief video, in which he thanked good Samaritans and hospital staff for aiding him. “I also want to apologize to some of the people that I might have slowed down their lap times if they happened to be behind me,” he joked.
Doctors said Tillis overheated during the race, his staff wrote in a statement that said he had been released from the hospital.
Tillis had released another video at mid-morning, saying he was fine.
Tillis added in the Twitter video, which was posted from his hospital bed at around 9:45 a.m., that he did not receive CPR as initial news reports had said. The news was first reported on Twitter by The Associated Press at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“I’m doing well. Looking forward to getting back to work. Thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes. #CapChallenge,” Tillis, 56, tweeted.
Tillis had been participating in a race in support of Fidelco Guide Dogs, according to his Twitter feed, and posted a photo of his team before the race.
Following his collapse, Tillis at first appeared unconscious but was revived and breathing when taken by ambulance from the ACLI Capital Challenge 3 Mile Team Race.
Political leaders from both parties immediately offered their prayers for Tillis in tweets, including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, N.C. Rep. Patrick McHenry and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
“@ThomTillis has incredible energy and resolve, and I expect he’ll make a swift recovery,” tweeted N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger. “He and his family are in my prayers.”
“This is very unsettling news, and I am praying that Senator Tillis makes a full recovery,” Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican, said in a statement. “To Susan, their children, and Sen. Tillis’ staff, I think of 2 Thessalonians 3:16: ‘Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.’ ”
State Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin also released a statement: “In spite of our political differences, I and the staff at the North Carolina Democratic Party wish Sen. Thom Tillis a full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family this morning.”
Tillis rode a wave of frustration with Washington in 2014 to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan after the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history. His victory gave Republicans control of the Senate and capped one of the fastest rises in North Carolina politics for a man who, just eight years earlier, was a town commissioner in Cornelius.
Tillis left home at 17 to work, saying he wasn’t “wired to go to college.” He held a succession of jobs until the mid-1990s, when he went to work for Price Waterhouse, one of the nation’s biggest accounting and consulting firms.
Tillis attended five schools in three states before earning a degree at 36 from the University of Maryland University College, a distance-learning institution, in 1997. A job transfer brought Tillis and his family to Cornelius in 1998.
His crusade for a local mountain bike trail led Tillis to a seat on the local park board. In 2003, he won a seat as a commissioner in the fast-growing lakeside town. In 2006, he ran for the state House, ousting fellow Republican John Rhodes.
In 2009, Tillis left a lucrative job at IBM to campaign for Republicans. After two terms as a back-bencher, he became House speaker when Republicans took control in 2010.