Secretary transferred his duties to Deputy.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to the hospital again Sunday afternoon, this time for “symptoms suggestive of an apparent bladder problem,” a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement.
“Today at 4:55 p.m., Secretary Austin transferred the functions and duties of the Office of the Secretary of Defense to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks,” Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement. Updating the public on Thursday evening. “The Deputy Secretary of Defense has assumed duties and responsibilities. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has notified the White House and Congress.
He said earlier that the White House, Congress and the Joint Chiefs of Staff had all been notified.
The defense secretary had previously undergone minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer on December 22, which led to a urinary tract infection and severe bowel complications. He was readmitted to the hospital on Jan. 1, but the White House didn't know it for three days — a secret that sparked intense scrutiny and criticism.
“I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis, and I should have told my team and the American people,” Austin told reporters earlier this month. “I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and the American people.”
Austin also spoke privately about his health challenges.
“The news shook me because it shook a lot of people, especially in the black community. It was a gut punch,” he said. “Obviously, my first instinct was to keep it private. I don't think it's news that I'm a pretty private guy. I never like to blame my problems on other people. It's just not my way.”
President Joe Biden has publicly blamed Austin for not announcing his hospitalization after cancer treatment, telling reporters in January that he still had faith in Austin, but that it was a lapse of judgment.
Austin said he apologized directly to Biden and said he was “deeply sorry” for not informing him of his diagnosis sooner.
An internal review and investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General is ongoing.
ABC News' Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.