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US Senator Bernie Sanders to scale back election campaign after heart attack

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he plans to “change the nature” of his election campaign after he had a heart attack last week.

Sanders, 78, was hospitalized for more than two days when he suffered a heart attack last week while campaigning in the state of Nevada.

The independent senator from Vermont had two stents inserted after doctors found an arterial blockage. On Friday, Sanders’ campaign confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack.

“We were doing, in some cases, five or six meetings a day, three or four rallies and town meetings and meeting with groups of people," he told reporters outside his home in Burlington, Vermont. "I don't think I'm going to do that."

While Sanders said he plans to scale things back, he gave no indication that he plans to end his bid for the White House any time soon.

"I certainly intend to be actively campaigning. I think we can change the nature of the campaign a bit. Make sure I have the strength to do what needs to be done."

Sanders returned to Vermont this weekend and is not expected back on the campaign trail before next week's Democratic primary debate in Westerville, Ohio.

Sanders also acknowledged that his health is something that voters take into account when they judge his candidacy.

"Everything that happens every day, weigh on how people feels about you, and my own view is that it's the voters who view you look at the totality of who the candidate is," he said.

In his most detailed in-person comments since falling ill, Sanders expressed regret over not having sought medical attention sooner.

"I should have listened to those symptoms," he said. "So if there's any message that I hope we can get out there, is that I want people to pay attention to their symptoms. And you know, when you are hurting, when you're fatigued, when you have a pain in your chest, listen to it."

Sanders' daughter-in-law dies of cancer at 46

Sanders’s health issues come at a particularly difficult time for his family.

The senator’s daughter-in-law, Rainè Riggs, died Saturday at the age of 46, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.

Her obituary said she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer.

Riggs, a neuropsychologist, was married to Levi Sanders, who ran unsuccessfully for a New Hampshire congressional seat in 2018. Riggs and Sanders had three children.

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