Marion Barry has spent more than a week in the hospital


Barry’s latest hospitalization has lasted more than a week. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

When the field of Democratic mayoral candidates gathered for a forum and straw poll Saturday at Turner Elementary School in Ward 8, one notable spectator was absent: Marion Barry, the ward’s D.C. Council member.

The forum’s moderator, WUSA-TV reporter and anchor Bruce Johnson, relayed to the crowd that Barry had been at Howard University Hospital for a week, “fighting a blood infection.” He said he would be released in several days after a course of antibiotic treatment and “really wanted to be here” for the Ward 8 Democrats event.

LaToya Foster, a spokeswoman for Barry, confirmed Monday that the former four-term mayor was admitted to Howard on Jan. 11 and is expected to be released “in the next couple of days.”

Foster said she could not confirm any details about Barry’s maladies or his treatment but said he is “doing much better” and could be released as soon as Tuesday.

The hospitalization is the latest in a long string of health issues for Barry, including his 1978 wounding in a City Hall shootout, a 20-year battle with diabetes, a mid-1990s bout with prostate cancer, and a 2009 kidney transplant. His most recent publicly reported hospitalization was last April, for a drop in blood sugar; Barry acknowledged last month undergoing other health issues this past fall, causing him to miss several council meetings, but he told a reporter he had not been admitted to a hospital.

Foster said Barry expects to be back to work shortly. “He is really following strict doctors orders and doing what he needs to do,” she said. “He’s not pushing it.”

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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