Teresa Heinz Kerry (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry clap during introductions at his ceremonial swearing-in event February 6, 2013, inside the US Department of State in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards
Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, was at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Sunday night after being stricken with an unspecified medical condition while on the island of Nantucket.
Earlier Sunday, Heinz Kerry was taken by ambulance to Nantucket Cottage Hospital accompanied by Kerry, according to a statement from Kerry spokesman Glen Johnson. Noah Brown, a spokesman for the Nantucket hospital, said she arrived in critical condition after 3:30 p.m. ET but was stabilized by doctors.
"The family is grateful for the outpouring of support it has received and aware of the interest in her condition, but they ask for privacy at this time," Johnson's statement said. Heinz Kerry was accompanied by her husband to the Boston hospital.
Heinz Kerry, 74, married then-Massachusetts senator John Kerry in 1995 on Nantucket, after meeting at an Earth Day rally five years earlier. They had been introduced by her first husband, John Heinz, a Pennsylvania senator and heir to the ketchup and condiment company. Heinz, a Republican, died in 1991 when his small chartered plane collided with a helicopter.
Heinz Kerry was born in Mozambique to a doctor, learned to speak five languages and became an interpreter for the United Nations. After her first husband's death, she became a philanthropist and backed numerous environmental causes through the Heinz family foundation.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, the outspoken Heinz Kerry was thrust into the spotlight as her husband ran for the Democratic nomination and became the party's standard bearer. She became a Democrat after the 2002 elections, to protest GOP attacks on Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia.
Heinz Kerry was known for speaking her mind on the presidential campaign trail, once telling an audience of Boston women that "you can talk to the simplest person about any issue," according to a New York Times profile.
Republicans raised Heinz Kerry's wealth, estimated by Forbes magazine in 2004 to be $750 million, as an issue in the presidential campaign. Other estimates put the fortune at $500 million. She had said she would dip into her personal fortune, if necessary, to help his candidacy.
In 2009, she was treated for breast cancer. The disease had been detected in her left breast after she had her annual mammogram. Heinz Kerry underwent lumpectomies in both breasts at a Washington hospital after a growth was also detected in her right breast.
John Kerry has been at the couple's Nantucket home since he returned from the Mideast and Southeast Asia on July 3. Before his wife's hospitalization, Kerry had been scheduled to return to Washington on Monday.
Contributing: Associated Press
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY - Contributing: Associated Press