Atlanta — Coretta Scott King was hospitalized in fair condition Wednesday and a family friend said the 78-year-old widow of Martin Luther King Jr. had suffered a stroke.
King was admitted to Piedmont Hospital on Tuesday, and the family released a statement Wednesday saying she was resting comfortably. It expressed thanks for the "outpouring of care and support that's being sent from around the world."
Hospital spokeswoman Diana Lewis and the family wouldn't discuss her illness, but the Rev. Joseph Lowery said King had suffered a stroke and was having trouble speaking.
King had canceled some recent public appearances, raising concerns about her health. Quoting unidentified friends, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that she was diagnosed with a heart malady this spring and has had several small strokes since then before the more serious one Tuesday.
Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which Martin Luther King Jr. helped found in 1957, was initially told by someone in King's office that she did not have a stroke, but he was immediately skeptical because the family is "very protective of her condition."
"She did have a stroke, take my word for it," Lowery said.
The Alabama-born Coretta Scott was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music when a friend introduced her to King, a young Baptist minister working toward a Ph.D. at Boston University. They married in 1953 and had four children.