CNN President Jeff Zucker Taking Six-Week Leave For Heart Surgery — CORRECTS


CORRECTS original headline: CNN President Jeff Zucker has revealed he will be taking a six-week leave for heart surgery. CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter just revealed the news on Twitter.

“Jeff Zucker just ended the CNN morning meeting with news of his own: He will be taking a six week leave for elective surgery to address a heart condition he has had for 10 years,” Stelter wrote. “He assured everyone he is going to be just fine. ”

Michael Bass, CNN’s programming EVP will take charge of the cable news net’s editorial in Zucker’s absence, an informed source tells Deadline. The two men have a long relationship, Bass having previously served as co-EP of Katie Couric’s syndicated Katie in 2012-13, and SVP of strategic initiatives at NBCUniversal from 2008-2012.

Contacted for comment, CNN declined to elaborate.

In fall of 2010, Zucker was diagnosed with a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which abnormal thickness in the heart muscle restricts blood flow. Zucker was told he needed surgery to implant a defibrillator to treat the condition, Gabe Sherman described in an extensive interview with Zucker for New York Magazine.

Zucker is a survivor, having grappled with multiple health issues. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a rare nerve-attacking disease that causes facial paralysis. Zucker said back then doctors thought the stress of his CNN job might have triggered it; Zucker only complained of not being able to smile for more than a year.

Zucker, who was named executive producer of NBC’s Today show when just 26 years old and CEO of NBCUniveral at 40, was diagnosed at age 31 with colon cancer. Three years later, the cancer recurred and much of his colon removed. One of the side effects of that is chronic dehydration, which causes kidney stones and gout, which Zucker also has talked about publicly.

“All of us are wishing him a very speedy recovery,” Stelter said in this morning’s tweet, which served to make the announcement on behalf of CNN.

Lisa de Moraes contributed to this report.

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