Denver Broncos head coach John Fox will undergo an aortic heart valve
replacement next week, which will keep him away from the team for "at
least the next several weeks," the team announced late Saturday night.
was taken to a hospital in the Charlotte area earlier Saturday after
feeling light-headed while playing golf, the club told USA TODAY Sports.
Fox did not suffer a heart attack but underwent a battery of tests that
revealed the need for immediate surgery.
Fox Sports was first to report news of the upcoming surgery.
Fox was advised by doctors months ago that his defective aortic valve
would require this procedure following the 2013 season," the team said
in a statement.
"As part of his trip to North
Carolina over the bye week, he had a preoperative appointment on
Thursday with his doctor, who informed him to seek medical attention
immediately if he felt any discomfort.
"On Saturday, Coach Fox began feeling light-headed while
golfing with friends. He was taken to a hospital, where testing revealed
he needed to have this procedure as soon as possible.
to media reports, Fox "did not have a heart attack," Broncos spokesman
Patrick Smyth told USA TODAY Sports earlier in the day, adding that Fox
was in "good spirits" and up walking and talking while undergoing
"I sincerely appreciate all of the support
from friends, Denver Broncos fans and so many around the league today,"
Fox said in a team-issued statement.
"Although I am
disappointed I must take some time away from the team to attend to this
pre-existing health condition, I understand that it's the right thing to
do. I have great confidence in our coaches and players, who are fully
committed to our goals.
"I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible."
The Broncos have yet to announce an interim head coach in Fox's absence.
coordinator Jack Del Rio has nine years experience as a head coach, all
with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Running backs coach Eric Studesville
spent four games as the Broncos' interim head coach in 2010 after Josh
McDaniels was fired.
Fox, 58, is in his third season with the Broncos after spending nine years as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
The Broncos are 7-1, second in the AFC West to the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver next plays at the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 10.