WASHINGTON — Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who is ill with brain cancer, collapsed at the Inauguration Day luncheon honoring President Obama, casting a pall over what had been a glorious celebration.
Details of Mr. Kennedy’s condition were not known immediately, except that he was stricken and taken by an emergency medical crew to a Washington hospital.
But Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut, told reporters that Mr. Kennedy had appeared to have a seizure but seemed fine as he was put into the ambulance.
"The good news is, he’s going to be fine," Mr. Dodd said.
Shortly before 3 p.m., CNN reported that Mr. Kennedy, 76, had suffered a seizure and been taken from Statuary Hall in the Capitol in a wheelchair. The senator’s brain tumor was discovered last spring after he suffered a seizure.
President Obama spoke briefly of Mr. Kennedy’s latest health problem. "Right now, part of me is with him," the new president told the luncheon gathering. “This is a joyous time, but also a sobering time. Our prayers are with him and his wife, Vicki."
CNN reported that Mr. Kennedy suffered a seizure just after medical attention was sought for Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, who is 91 and has been noticeably frail in recent months. Mr.Byrd’s office subsequently said that he was fine.
The announcement that Mr. Kennedy had been taken to a hospital threw a cloud of gloom, at least for the moment, over the traditional inaugural day celebratory luncheon. Mr. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat who is second in seniority only to Mr. Byrd, was stricken 48 years to the day after his brother President John F. Kennedy was inaugurated.
There was an immediate outpouring of concern about Senator Kennedy, who is widely regarded as the Senate’s leading champion of liberal causes. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who acknowledged that he is about as far removed ideologically from Mr. Kennedy as it is possible to be, said he hoped for the best.
"He’s a courageous fighter, as he has been over his entire career," Mr. Cornyn said.
Another conservative Republican, Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, who is a close friend of Mr. Kennedy, said he was somewhat relieved after Mr. Kennedy looked at him and smiled just before being taken away in an ambulance.
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Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
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