UAccording to the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is back in the hospital and his deputy Kathleen Hicks has taken over his duties. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House and Congress have been informed, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said on Sunday evening.

According to Ryder, Austin was initially taken to a military clinic near Washington by his security service at 2:20 p.m. (local time) with symptoms of an acute bladder problem. In the afternoon it was said that Austin had the necessary means of communication with him to carry out his duties from the hospital. We will inform you about his condition as soon as possible. In the evening it was said that Austin was still in the hospital and had handed over the official duties to his deputy at around 4:55 p.m. (local time).

Austin only returned to work at the Pentagon at the end of January after a lengthy period of illness. At the beginning of the year he came under heavy criticism for keeping secret his diagnosis of prostate cancer and a hospital stay following complications from a procedure. Even US President Joe Biden didn't know for several days that his minister was in the hospital – but later confirmed that he wanted to stick with him. Austin was released from the hospital on January 15th and initially did not work from the Pentagon.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States after nonmelanoma skin cancer. In the early stages, the chances of recovery are generally good. The prostate (prostate gland) is an organ the size of a walnut that surrounds the base of the urethra in men.