Ex-Pa. Gov. Tom Ridge recovering from heart attack

Associated Press and CDT staff reports

Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was in the early stages of recovery from a heart attack, his wife said Friday, a day after he underwent an emergency heart procedure.

The 72-year-old Ridge, a former two-term Republican Pennsylvania governor, remained hospitalized in critically stable condition in Austin, Texas, where he was attending a Republican Governors Association conference.

In a statement, Michele Ridge said it’s going to be “day-to-day” for her husband.

“We all know what a fighter he is,” she said. “We’d ask those of you who have been sending prayers to keep them coming.”

Tom Ridge was at his hotel when he called for help Thursday morning. His wife said first responders worked “heroically” to get her husband to the trauma center at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.

Ridge underwent a cardiac catheterization and was resting comfortably and responding to doctors, she said.

“Frances and I are praying for Gov. Ridge and his whole family, especially Michele and their kids. We know Tom is a fighter and the Ridges should know that all of Pennsylvania is pulling for them as he recovers,” said current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

“Obviously, we’re praying for him,” said state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, who served almost three years in office while Ridge was in the Governor’s Mansion. “He’s going (through) a significant health challenge, but he’s always kept himself in good physical shape. I’m sure he’ll pull through this.”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson. R-Howard Township, echoed those sentiments.

“Gov. Ridge has been a good friend over the years and I am hopeful he will make a speedy recovery. My wife, Penny, and I will keep him, Michelle, and their family in our thoughts and prayers,” Thompson said.

Ridge, a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, also was a county prosecutor and a six-term congressman from Erie before being elected the state’s governor in 1994.

Ridge was the nation’s first homeland security secretary, serving under Republican President George W. Bush until February 2005. He left the governorship after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to join the Bush administration.

Since leaving government, Ridge has headed Ridge Global, a firm that advises on cybersecurity, international security and risk management.

Ridge and his wife live in Bethesda, Maryland.