Ashe suffers heart attack

September 13, 1992|By N.Y. Times News Service

NEW YORK -- Arthur Ashe was hospitalized because of a mil heart attack Thursday night, but he seemed to be taking his latest medical setback in stride.

"He really isn't very sick," his cardiologist, Stephen Scheidt, said yesterday after checking on his patient at the cardiac care unit at New York Hospital.

Scheidt said the heart attack was not related to the HIV infection that it is believed the former U.S. Open champion contracted from a blood transfusion during one of his two heart bypass surgeries, in 1979 and 1983.

Scheidt said Ashe, 49, was admitted to the hospital Thursday night after feeling pains in his chest while watching television in his Manhattan apartment. He said that the heart attack had been so mild that it wasn't until almost 24 hours later that tests confirmed that one had occurred.

Ashe -- who reluctantly disclosed in April that he had contracted the virus that causes AIDS -- has been very active in recent months. Two weeks ago, on the eve of the U.S. Open, he presided over an exhibition tournament to raise money for AIDS research. On Wednesday he was arrested in Washington while protesting the Bush administration's policy of returning Haitian refugees to their homeland. He was fined and released the same day.

Ashe, the first black man to win a Grand Slam event, won the U.S. Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975.

He was forced to withdraw from competitive tennis after suffering a heart attack and undergoing a quadruple bypass in 1979. He underwent a double bypass in 1983.

Scheidt said Ashe would probably stay in the cardiac care unit at least until tomorrow.

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