Kay Hagan released from Atlanta hospital, recovering from tick-borne illness

ATLANTA -- Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan has been released from the hospital, according to an email obtained by FOX8 that Hagan's husband, Chip, sent to family and friends.

Hagan had been at an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital recovering from the Powassan virus, a virus spread by ticks.

Hagan, 63, fell ill in Washington, D.C., in December 2016 and was initially hospitalized there.

The following email was sent to family and friends over the weekend:

To Family and Friends,

It has been several months since we sent out an update on Kay and her recovery. The Powassan virus is something that affects each person differently, so Kay’s recovery has been specific to her. Powassan and other tick borne illnesses have been in the news recently as they appear to be on the rise. We hope Kay's case has brought some awareness to tick borne illnesses and the Powassan virus in particular.

The Shepherd Center is a remarkable rehabilitation hospital and has been very helpful in Kay’s recovery. Last week Kay was finally discharged from the hospital. Fortunately, Shepherd also has an outpatient facility called Shepherd Pathways, and Kay is now an outpatient patient at Shepherd Pathways where she is continuing to receive therapy 5 days a week. We are staying in the residential facility associated with Shepherd Center, and appreciating the ability to get out a little now. Kay’s recovery is going slowly, but we continue to see improvement each week. Kay is working on improving her motor skills and walking with a walker. While her speech continues to be limited, she clearly understands what people say to her and recognizes her friends when they come to visit. She enjoys hearing from friends and family about what is going on in their lives, and keeping up with current events. She even occasionally watches Morning Joe. We are expecting for Kay to remain here for several more weeks and upon completing her course of therapy in Atlanta to return to NC.

She is really enjoying this weekend as we are celebrating her father's 90th birthday and he and many in her family have come to Atlanta for this birthday celebration.

Many of you have sent cards and e-mails wishing Kay well and a speedy recovery, and so many have noted that they are praying for Kay. All of your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated, so please continue to offer those prayers.

All our love,

Chip, Jeanette, Martin, Tilden, Carrie, and Will

Hagan was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and served through 2014.

Sen. Richard Burr tweeted Monday afternoon, "Relieved to see my friend and former colleague @kayhagan's health is continuing to improve. Will keep praying for her and her family."

Rep. Mark Walker tweeted Monday afternoon, "Thankful @kayhagan is recovering well. Prayers as she continues to heal in therapy."