American Heart Association President John Warner suffered a heart attack during the organization's annual conference in Southern California, where he spoke about his family's history with heart disease.

Warner, vice president and chief executive of UT Southwestern University Hospitals in Dallas, was recovering after what the American Heart Association called a “minor” episode Monday morning at the organization's Scientific Sessions, a five-day conference on cardiovascular science in Anaheim. He was in stable condition after doctors inserted a stent to open an artery, the association said in a statement.

During his address Sunday, the 52-year-old cardiologist said there “were no old men on either side of my family — none — all the branches of our family tree cut short by cardiovascular disease.”

“I know this is also true in far too many other families, not just in the U.S. but around the world,” Warner added. “Together we can make sure old men and old women are regulars at family reunions, that people live long enough and healthy enough to enjoy walks and fishing trips with their grandchildren and maybe even their great-grandchildren. In other words, I look forward to a future where people have the exact opposite experience of my family, that children grow up surrounded by so many healthy, beloved, elderly relatives that they couldn't imagine life any other way.”

Warner accepted the one-year volunteer position as American Heart Association president in July, representing the organization all over the world.

Warner has spent most of his career working as an intervention cardiologist, “often performing the procedure he underwent Monday morning” after his heart attack, the organization said.

“John wanted to reinforce that this incident underscores the important message that he left us with in his presidential address yesterday — that much progress has been made, but much remains to be done,” the association's chief executive officer, Nancy Brown, said in the statement. “Cardiac events can still happen anytime and anywhere.”

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