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Hawaii island mayor remains in hospital after heart attack

KAILUA-KONA (AP) — Hawaii island’s mayor is still hospitalized after suffering a heart attack and undergoing a procedure to implant a stent.

Mayor Mitch Roth was being treated in Hilo Medical Center after experiencing chest pain Saturday evening, West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday.

The former Hawaii County prosecutor, who ran as an independent candidate and began his first term in office in December, was under evaluation by medical staff Monday.

“He’s still in the hospital, but he’s recovering and he’s in great spirits,” spokesman Cyrus Johnasen said.

Roth, 56, is not infected with the coronavirus, Johnasen said.

“My wife Noriko and I are humbled by the outpouring of support and aloha we have received from our island community,” Roth said in a statement, expressing gratitude to the hospital staff who have shown him “excellent care.”

“I am confident that I will be back to full health very soon,” Roth added. “In the meantime, I know my team will continue to work tirelessly to serve our community in my stead.”

Hawaii County Managing Director Lee Lord is serving as the Big Island’s acting mayor during Roth’s recovery.

Hawaii County Council Chairwoman Maile David said she sent Roth a text after learning of his condition Sunday and was “sincerely touched” when Roth replied to thank her.

“I told him that I know he was extremely busy these past few weeks trying to hit the ground running,” David said, “but that right now the most important thing is his health and that he needs to take as much time as necessary to get well completely so he can continue his good work.”

Democratic Lt. Gov. Josh Green said he spoke Sunday with Roth, “who is going through a little bit of a health challenge right now.”

“He and his team are on top of things and he’s just a great human being,” Green said. “He’ll be OK.”

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