(CBS News) Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced.
A statement from the former vice president's office said the 71-year-old is now recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., outside Washington.
The statement said Cheney had been on the transplant list for 20 months and did not know the identity of the donor.
"Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," the statement read.
Cheney, who served as President George W. Bush's vice president from 2001 to 2009, has a long history of heart problems. He suffered his first heart attack at age 37 and his fifth in 2010. In 1988, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery and has had several other heart surgeries since then, including multiple angioplasties and the implantation of a pacemaker.
List: Cheney's heart problems since 1978
In 2010, he had a battery-powered heart pump known as a Left Ventricular Assist Device implanted to keep his heart working - a device that is often used for short periods by patients awaiting a transplant.
In an interview early last year, Cheney called the heart pump a "wondrous device," but said that it made it "awkward to walk around." The device, which takes over the job of the heart's main pumping chamber, is powered by batteries worn in a fanny pack.
Left on Cue: Hate Speech for Cheney and Family
I'm sure it won't surprise readers that many of the same people who have been so outspoken in condemning Rush's Limbaugh's poor choice of words in describing contraception activist Sandra Fluke are front and center in spitting hate at the former Vice President and his family at this critical time.
Funny how the people who demand a civil public discourse can so instantly go off the deep end of hate with comments at Democrat's Underground like the one suggesting the donor heart was ripped from the body by Cheney's wife Lynne or daughter Liz.
I wish Dick Cheney a speedy and full recovery. What a shame those who constantly demand civility in our public discourse cannot do the same!