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Ottawa Coun. Rick Chiarelli hospitalized amid ‘further complications’ from heart surgery

College Ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli pictured at Ottawa city council in Feb. 2020. The councillor is facing new complications from his heart surgery in December 2019, according to his director of strategic affairs and communications. Beatrice Britneff / Global News

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Coun. Rick Chiarelli was not granted medical leave in Oct. 2019. The story was also updated to clarify the status of the councillor’s ongoing work at council this term.

Rick Chiarelli was taken to hospital this week as the Ottawa city councillor faces new complications believed to be linked to his heart surgery two years ago.

The College Ward councillor’s director of strategic affairs and communications confirmed to Global News in a statement that Chiarelli was taken to hospital by ambulance earlier this week.

He was admitted and has since gone through “extensive testing,” according to the statement.

“Results to date show further complications which seem to have arisen from those he experienced for several months following his open-heart quadruple bypass surgery in December 2019,” the statement read.

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Read more: Ottawa Coun. Rick Chiarelli still in hospital fighting infection after open-heart surgery

“Tests are still ongoing, however, Councillor Chiarelli remains committed in participating electronically in previously scheduled budget meetings with the community as his health permits.”

Chiarelli was denied a request for medical leave in Oct. 2019 after his office said he first started experiencing medical complications the preceding August.

That request came as he faced allegations of sexual harassment. Chiarelli has since been subject to council-imposed penalties related to two integrity commissioner reports on sexual misconduct in his office.

The embattled councillor has been removed from committees, had his power to hire staff and manage his office budget restricted and been docked 450 days pay over the reports, which confirmed allegations that he sexually harassed staffers and applicants to his office. Chiarelli has denied the accusations and is fighting the integrity commissioner’s findings in court.

Read more: Ottawa mayor joins calls for integrity commissioner probe of Chiarelli Twitter messages

Chiarelli had continued to attend council meetings during this period and most recently appeared virtually at the Sept. 8 meeting of city council.

This news was first reported Friday by the Ottawa Citizen.

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