Politics & Government

Brother says former US Sen. Hagan is in intensive care

Former Sen. Kay Hagan
Former Sen. Kay Hagan

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina was rushed to a Washington, D.C., hospital Thursday after falling seriously ill.

Hagan, 63, is being treated in the intensive care unit, her brother, Joe L. Ruthven of Lakeland, said Friday.

Ruthven said she did not have a heart attack and is not in a coma.

The family asked the specifics of her condition not be published.

“We don’t want any miscommunication or overreaction,” Ruthven said.

There was speculation Hagan suffered a stroke, which her mother, Jeanette Ruthven, died of in her 50s, but Ruthven said that does not appear to be the case.

Hagan, who was elected to the Senate from North Carolina in 2008, was born Janet Kay Ruthven in Shelby, N.C. She is a member of the Democratic party.

Before going into politics, Hagan worked in the financial industry, becoming the vice president of North Carolina’s largest bank, North Carolina National Bank.

Hagan served in the North Carolina Senate from 1999 to 2009 before defeating Republican Elizabeth Dole to win a seat in the U.S. Senate, where she served from 2009 to 2015. Hagan lost her re-election bid to Republican Thom Tillis.

Her father, Joe Ruthven, is a former mayor of Lakeland and founder of The Ruthvens, a Lakeland-based commercial warehouse developer and operator.

Jeanette Ruthven, whose maiden name was Chiles, was the sister of Lawton Chiles, who served as a U.S. senator and governor of Florida, dying in 1998 a month before the end of his second term in Tallahasee. A local middle academy was named for the Lakeland native.

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