Former Mayor Richard M. Daley was undergoing tests Saturday in the intensive-care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after falling ill on a business trip to Arizona, according to representatives of the former mayor.
Daley, 71, felt ill Friday afternoon during a conference he was attending with members of the Katten Muchin Rosenman law firm, where Daley is of counsel, said Jacquelyn Heard, a longtime Daley aide who now works as a spokeswoman for the firm. He was still feeling ill and disoriented when he boarded the plane home, she said.
The former mayor's family was aware of the situation and had an ambulance waiting when his plane returned to Chicago on Friday, Heard said.
"He's here not because he felt so horrible that he had to go to the hospital," Heard said in a phone call from Northwestern, where she said it is still unknown what's ailing the former mayor. "He's here because his children insisted."
Daley's illness came the same day his nephew, Richard "R.J." Vanecko, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of David Koschman. Vanecko punched Koschman during an angry early-morning encounter in the Rush Street nightlife district. Vanecko agreed to serve 60 days in jail.
Daley has maintained a busy life in the legal, business, education and government spheres since deciding not to run for reelection in 2011 after a record 22 years as Chicago's mayor. His wife, Maggie, died in November 2011.
Daley and Maggie Daley were hospitalized at Northwestern in late December 2002 after they both passed out because of dehydration due to the flu. During his stay, doctors discovered Daley had heart arrhythmia when his heart rate shot up to 155 beats per minute while he was sleeping, and he was put on medication to control arrhythmia and high blood pressure.
Daley had been checked in to Northwestern overnight Feb. 28 to March 1, 2002 after he lost his balance and felt lightheaded at Rosebud Steakhouse, 192 E. Walton St. Doctors at the time said they believed the episode was triggered by a leg cramp brought on by exercise, but later said the arrhythmia might have been a factor.
The former mayor also was hospitalized in 2000 after he suffered vague chest pain and high blood pressure. Although he passed a battery of medical tests and no blockages were found in his coronary arteries, he was placed on blood-pressure medication at the time.
Prior to his 2000 hospitalization, Daley had not had a physical examination for a decade, his doctors said at the time.
Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributedCopyright © 2015, RedEye