Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. treated for depression, Mayo Clinic says


Jesse Jackson Jr. addressing the Democratic National Convention, August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado.


Justin Sullivan

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is receiving treatment for depression, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has confirmed.

In a statement released last night, the psychiatric hospital said that the Illinois Democrat was "undergoing an extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and for gastrointestinal issues," according to the Associated Press.

Without giving further details, the statement said Jackson and his family were "grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers that have been received throughout his care."

There has been widespread speculation about Jackson's health for several weeks. According to Politico, he was last seen on Capitol Hill on June 10 – though it wasn't until June 26 that his office announced he had taken a medical leave of absence for "exhaustion."

Reports followed that Jackson, 47, was battling alcohol addiction and had attempted suicide, rumors that were swiftly denied by his family.

Yesterday's statement is the first official acknowledgment that the congressman has suspected depression, Reuters said. His doctor had previously referred only to a "mood disorder."

The confusion prompted some of Jackson's colleagues in the Democrat party to urge the congressman to be more forthcoming about his condition, according to The Hill. It's not the first time he's been reluctant to talk about his health: according to the Chicago Sun Times, Jackson initially concealed the fact that he'd undergone a surgical procedure to help him lose weight back in 2005.

Jackson, who is facing re-election in November, is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee into allegations that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was offered millions of dollars in campaign contributions in 2008 to appoint Jackson to Barack Obama's newly vacated seat in the Senate, the Wall Street Journal states.

Jackson denies any wrongdoing.

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