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Former U.S. Defense Secretary Gates recovering from fall

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks after being awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia,
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks after being awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia,

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is recovering after fracturing the first vertebrae in his neck during a fall at his home in Washington state on New Year's Day, according to media reports on Thursday.

Gates, 70, who was Pentagon chief from 2006 to 2011 under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was treated at hospitals in Mount Vernon, Washington, and Seattle, and "is now back at home with his family resting comfortably," according to a statement by his office quoted by Politico.

"He is expected to make a full recovery and thanks the medical staffs of both hospitals for the excellent care they provided him," the statement said.

It added he looked forward to the January 14 publication of his memoir, "Duty", which "he will be promoting wearing a neck brace."

(Writing by Peter Cooney; Editing by Ken Wills)

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