Dick Cheney Receives Heart Transplant

03/24/2012 at 07:15 PM EDT

Dick Cheney Heart Transplant
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney
Lawrence Jackson/AP
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant from an anonymous donor on Saturday, and is recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., outside of Washington, D.C.

"Although the former Vice President and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," said a statement from Cheney's office.

The statement also said that Cheney, 71, had been on the waiting list for a new heart for 20 months.

Since his first heart attack when he was 37, Cheney, who was second in command under President George W. Bush, has suffered five coronaries and underwent bypass surgery in 1988.

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