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Sen. Strom Thurmond, at 95 the oldest person ever to serve in Congress, was hospitalized Monday with a respiratory infection, a spokesman at Eisenhower Medical Center said.

Thurmond, who also has served longer in the Senate than anyone else, was spending the Christmas holidays at his home in South Carolina when he became ill and was taken to the Army hospital at Fort Gordon, the spokesman said.

He declined to give further details of Thurmond's condition.

Thurmond was hospitalized in October after fainting at a Promise Keepers rally in Washington. At that time, doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center said he had suffered dehydration.

In February, Thurmond was admitted to Walter Reed with the flu. He stayed for the weekend, leaving in time to preside over a Senate session the following Monday.

He is president pro tempore of the Senate -- a largely ceremonial post -- and prides himself on being present at the start of each day's session.

Thurmond has served in the Senate for more than 42 years.

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