Dick Cheney had a heart transplant today and is recovering at a Virginia hospital, his office said. An aide to Cheney disclosed that the 71-year-old, who has had a long history of cardiovascular trouble, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months. Cheney was recovering at the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia after surgery earlier in the day.
"Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement. The former vice president suffered a heart attack in 2010, his fifth since the age of 37. That year, he had surgery to have a small pump installed to help his heart keep working. It was one of the few steps left, short of a transplant, to stay alive in the face of what he acknowledged was "increasing congestive heart failure." (Read more Dick Cheney stories.)