Home Local Richard M. Daley, longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, hospitalized but said to be alert and in good spirits

Richard M. Daley, longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, hospitalized but said to be alert and in good spirits

by staff

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after “feeling lethargic” Wednesday afternoon, his longtime spokeswoman said.

It’s not clear how long the former mayor, who just turned 80 years old on April 24, will be in the hospital, but he was expected to remain at Northwestern at least overnight, spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said.

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“They want to run a battery of tests,” she said. “The good news is, he sounds great on the phone, he’s alert and in good spirits.”

Daley was with his daughter Nora Daley Conroy on Wednesday when he began to feel unwell, Heard said.

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Daley was mayor for 22 years, from 1989 to 2011, making him the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history. He served one more year than his father, Richard J. Daley, who was mayor from 1955 to 1976.

Richard M. Daley oversaw a city in transition in the 1990s and 2000s and spearheaded several major projects, including the construction of Millennium Park. He got the Democratic National Convention to come to the city in 1996 and also convinced state leaders to give him control of the Chicago Public Schools.

He also masterminded the tearing down of many of Chicago’s public housing high-rises and sold the city’s parking meters to a private firm, a decision that has faced widespread criticism in the years since. He also attempted to lure the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago but that bid went to Rio de Janeiro.

In 2010, Daley shocked the city by announcing he would not run for reelection and his decision set off a flurry of political maneuvering to replace him, which ended with Rahm Emanuel being elected in 2011.

jebyrne@chicagotribune.com

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