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Sanders undergoes heart procedure after experiencing 'chest discomfort'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Biden to seek minimum wage in COVID-19 proposal MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House hopeful, underwent a procedure to have two stents inserted to address an arterial blockage after experiencing chest discomfort during a campaign event on Tuesday, aides said.

Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders's campaign, said in a statement on Wednesday that the Vermont senator would spend the next few days recovering from the procedure, and that his campaign events would be canceled until further notice.

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"Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits," Weaver said. "He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.”

Sanders’s campaign also canceled a recently announced $1.3 million television ad buy in Iowa, according to Advertising Analytics, a firm that tracks ad spending. The spot was slated to begin airing on Thursday. A spokesperson for Sanders, however, said that the move was "just a postponement."

At 78, Sanders is the oldest candidate in the presidential race. He has experienced a number of ailments over the years, including hernias and gout. But his allies have long insisted that he’s in good health, often pointing to the energy he exhibits on the campaign trail.

During his first run for president in 2016, Sanders's campaign released a letter from his longtime doctor, congressional physician Brian Monahan, asserting that the senator was in “very good health.” That letter also noted that Sanders had no history of cardiovascular disease.

He has not yet released his medical records, though he has said he will do so eventually. 

The new procedure could raise questions about Sanders’s age and physical health as he seeks the nomination to take on President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE in 2020. He conceded in an interview last year that his age would likely be “part of a discussion” in his presidential bid, but said that he remained in good health.

“I’m very blessed with my health,” he told Politico at the time.

Throughout his campaign, Sanders has sought to project himself as physically active. His campaign has occasionally posted photos of him playing sports, like basketball, and he recently pitched a softball game against members of the press in Iowa.

News of the new heart procedure came a day after Sanders’s campaign announced a staggering $25.3 million fundraising haul in the third quarter of the year, the largest sum disclosed by any candidate so far.

As news spread on Wednesday that he had undergone the procedure, several of the senator’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination wished him well in his recovery.

“Thinking of @BernieSanders today and wishing him a speedy recovery,” Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor using Thurgood Marshall's Bible In calling out Trump, Nikki Haley warns of a more sinister threat On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted. “If there's one thing I know about him, he's a fighter and I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail soon.”

“Glad to hear my friend @BernieSanders is doing well and in good spirits—wishing him a speedy recovery,” Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSunday shows preview: Washington prepares for an inauguration and impeachment; coronavirus surges across the US NCAA tables name, image and likeness vote after DOJ warns of potential antitrust violations Warren and other senators seek investigation into Trump administration resuming federal executions MORE (D-N.J.) wrote on Twitter.

— Reid Wilson contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:23 p.m.