Jesse Jackson Jr.'s medical condition "is more serious than we thought and initially believed," according to a statement released Thursday.
A source close to Jackson said the congressman is "very sick," and a new statement regarding his condition came because of "heightened concern than there was even a few weeks ago."
The congressman's office announced last month he was taking a leave of absence and was being treated for exhaustion. Now it seems Jackson Jr. will need to take more time away, a statement released by a spokesman suggests:
"Recently, we have been made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time. At present, he is undergoing further evaluation and treatment at an in-patient medical facility. According to the preliminary diagnosis from his doctors, Congressman Jackson will need to receive extended in-patient treatment as well as continuing medical treatment thereafter. We ask that you keep Congressman Jackson and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult period.”
The congressman's office is still holding back on information about where he is, what specifically his condition is, and when he will return.
"We hope that the congressman will be back soon. He needs to get his health back, said Jackson's Chief of Staff Rick Bryant last week. "That's our first priority--get him healthy and back to work."
Jackson's opponent in the November election, Brian Woodworth, wants more information than what Jackson is releasing, and he thinks the public is entitled to that information as well.
"I think Jackson has an obligation to do that as well, not just for his constituents, but also to dispel the rumors--there's a lot of rumors out there as to what's going on," he said.
Woodworth adds other lawmakers have taken leaves of absence and given full details on those absences.
"To simply say that he's seeking medical attention, it's going to be extended medical attention, people need to know more than that, and I look to Senator Mark Kirk as an example, but he's not the only example."
Jackson has not been seen or heard from since about two weeks before his leave of absence was announced. His wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, declined to offer details after last month's City Council meeting about her husband's whereabouts.
"I love my husband very much," Sandi Jackson told reporters.
"I want to thank all of those folks who prayed for our family, who have kept my husband and myself and my children uplifted in prayer," she said. "It’s gratifying to know that there’s so much support."
Jesse Jackson Sr. has also stated he has only recently learned of his son's condition, saying it is "a source of unspeakable pain for the Jackson family."