Sen. Kirk heads home from rehab center

Kirk suffered a stroke in January

May 3, 2012

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago issued this photo in April. It's the first photo released to the public since Sen. Kirk suffered the stroke in January.

Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is moving back home after suffering a stroke in January.

Kirk's office released a statement Thursday at the request of his family that said the senator has "progressed to the point where he can move home with his family." Kirk has been recovering at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago since his stroke, and his family said he'd continue to go back there for out-patient care.

"We are grateful for the wonderful doctors and personnel at the RIC for their care of Mark, and to the residents of Illinois who have given him privacy and time to heal. We also thank everyone who has shared their prayers and wishes for his return to the U.S. Senate as soon as possible," the statement said.

Kirk had part of his skull removed following the stroke.

Those who have spoken to Sen. Kirk have said he's mentally sharp and sounds normal. His counterpart, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, has said Kirk has made terrific progress and the two have joked a bit. Durbin recently responded to criticism that Kirk has yet to be seen publicly.

"Give him a break. Come on," Durbin said. "The man is working his way back through rehabilitation, and he wants tsome time to get the strength and get back to where he can meet the press. This is not an easy experience."

Durbin said he had no doubt that Kirk would return to his work in the Senate.