Colin Powell Briefly Hospitalized

The Associated Press
Friday, July 7, 2006; 2:06 PM

ASPEN, Colo. -- Saying he was fine, former Secretary of State Colin Powell returned to a seminar Friday after being briefly hospitalized following a dinner with former President Clinton and others.

Powell, 69, arrived on time for a panel discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival and showed no signs that he had been sick the night before.

"I'm fine. I look healthy, don't I?" he told the Aspen Daily News after the hour-long session. "I started hyperventilating a little and was feeling a little altitude sickness, I think.

"I probably would have been OK but they said, 'Oh god, let's take a look at him.' They took me to the hospital, gave me a quick examination and let me go."

Powell's Alexandria, Va.-based secretary, Peggy Cifrino, said Powell felt lightheaded, "stumbled a bit and sat down" before an ambulance was called. She said he told her that the altitude _ 7,900 feet _ had most likely caused his illness.

Powell spent a few hours at the hospital, Cifrino said, where doctors examined him to check his overall health.

"He's doing great," she said.

He was released from Aspen Valley Hospital at 1:45 a.m., police Sgt. Bill Linn said.

Powell served as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005 after a four-year stint as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cifrino said he would return to Washington on Sunday.

© 2006 The Associated Press