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Forum News Service, Published January 05 2014

Rybak in fine spirits day after heart attack

ST PAUL – Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was in fine spirits Sunday, the day after he suffered a heart attack, tweeting about his hospital stay throughout the day.

“It’s a great day to be alive. Really,” he tweeted Sunday morning.

Rybak, 58, suffered a “serious heart attack” Saturday afternoon after skiing nearly 8 miles at Theodore Wirth Park, his former spokesman John Stiles said.

On Sunday, the mayor’s children, Charlie, 24, and Grace, 22, held a press conference to talk about how their father was feeling much better, was in good spirits and was sitting up, Stiles said.

The children wanted to take the opportunity to point out that “even when you do everything right, when you exercise and eat right, if you have genetic risk factors you still need to be extra aware,” Stiles said.

Stiles said this was Rybak’s first heart attack and that his family has a history of heart problems on his father’s side.

“He’s one of the fittest people in their late 50s that you’ll ever meet,” he said.

A procedure to “clean out” the mayor’s other artery was scheduled for today as a preventive measure, Stiles said.

Less than three hours after he was admitted to Abbott Northwestern where doctors performed an angioplasty and inserted two stents on Saturday, Rybak was on Twitter:

“My cardiac surprise/ Gave me quite a start/ But it proves this politician/ Has a great big heart.”

He followed his Twitter poem with: “By the way the ski trails at Wirth are awesome today.”

On Sunday, Rybak continued his tweets from his hospital bed, including quipping, “Why is everyone complaining about the temps? It’s 68 in here.”

He also tweeted a photo of himself superimposed onto a mock GQ Magazine cover giving a thumbs up and then tweeted, “Feed a cold and starve a heart attack? Or starve a cold ...”

After cross-country skiing by himself Saturday, Rybak was in the park’s parking lot when he became short of breath and began having chest pains, Stiles said. He called his wife to let her know and then saw some friends, who called 911.