Lloyd Austin
Lloyd AustinMiriam Alster/Flash 90

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was briefly hospitalized this week, but President Joe Biden was not aware about it for days, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Saturday.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan ultimately informed Biden of the hospitalization late Thursday afternoon, soon after Sullivan himself learned that Austin had been hospitalized, that source said.

Austin had been admitted to the hospital on New Year’s Day due to complications from an elective surgery.

The Pentagon announced the hospitalization Friday. Austin issued his first statement on Saturday, five days after being admitted to the hospital, saying he could have done a “better job” of notifying the public.

Austin offered no details about his condition, nor did he say exactly why he was hospitalized on January 1. As of Saturday evening, he remained in the hospital, according to a defense official quoted by CNN.

The Secretary of Defense thanked the “amazing” staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the care he has received and said he is “on the mend” and looking forward to returning to the Pentagon.

He acknowledged “media concerns about transparency” and said “I commit to doing better” in the statement.

However, Austin did not apologize for failing to notify the public or the press in a timely fashion. Senior administration and military officials who are hospitalized normally put out a statement within 24 hours.

Senior administration officials said they were shocked to learn of Austin’s hospitalization and the delay in informing the White House.