Chuck Colson, 80, in ‘critical’ condition after brain surgery


By Dan Wooding

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson, 80, founder of Prison Fellowship, Justice Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, underwent surgery at a Washington, D.C., area hospital on Saturday morning to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain.

Colson is listed in “critical” condition at this point, but has shown some early signs of potential recovery.

Colson was speaking at a Wilberforce Weekend Conference sponsored by the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview in northern Virginia on Friday when his speech became garbled and he had to sit down, according to World Magazine.

He was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he underwent evaluation and then surgery early Saturday.

A statement on the Prison Fellowship website (, said that Colson underwent surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain, the result of an intracerebral hemorrhage he experienced at the Wilberforce Weekend conference in Lansdowne, Virginia, on Friday.

“The surgery to remove the clot, performed by an excellent medical team, was successful,” said the statement. “At present Chuck is resting comfortably, surrounded by his wife Patty and the rest of his loving family. So far his doctors have been pleased to see positive indicators of potential recovery.”

Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO, Jim Liske said, “We believe that we serve a mighty God – the ‘Great Physician’ – and are hoping and praying for Chuck’s full recovery. When I visited him yesterday, I was encouraged to see that as we prayed, Chuck was responsive.”

His attending physician, a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon, reports that Colson suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage. On his arrival at the hospital, the neuroscience ICU stabilized him and took him to the operating room for “evacuation of the blood clot in his brain.”

Charles Wendell “Chuck” Colson (born October 16, 1931) was the former Special Counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He was commonly named as one of the Watergate Seven, and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for attempting to defame Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg.

He converted to Christianity in 1973, and the following year served seven months of a one-to-three year sentence in the federal Maxwell Prison in Alabama as the first member of the Nixon administration to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges.

Colson’s later life has been spent working with his non-profit organization devoted to prison ministry called Prison Fellowship. The ministry has promoted pen-pal relationships with inmates. Colson is also a public speaker and author. He is founder and chairman of the Wilberforce Forum, which is the “Christian worldview thinking, teaching, and advocacy arm of” Prison Fellowship, and includes Colson’s daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint, now heard on a thousand outlets. The ministry conducts justice reform efforts through Justice Fellowship.

Colson has received 15 honorary doctorates and in 1993 was awarded the Templeton Prize, the world’s largest annual award (over $1 million) in the field of religion, given to a person who “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”. He donated this prize to further the work of Prison Fellowship, as he does all his speaking fees and royalties.