Updated 06/11/14 – 11:46 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Wednesday made his first public appearance since undergoing an emergency heart procedure last week, joking with a class of new police recruits that “Word of my demise was greatly exaggerated.”
McCarthy attended a graduation ceremony for new police officers at Navy Pier. Dressed in uniform, he appeared healthy and upbeat as he shook hands with officers before the ceremony started.
Once on stage for the graduation, McCarthy said he was reminded of a few years ago, when he was at a Rolling Stones concert, and guitarist Keith Richards stepped up to the microphone.
“He said, ‘I’m glad to be here, but then again I’m glad to be anywhere.’ I kind of feel that way today,” McCarthy said.
“I’m doing very well. I feel great. And I’m really, really happy to be here,” McCarthy told the newest class of officers. “I’m sure my doctors are going to get annoyed at me, but I know they’ll never see this in the news, so it’ll be fine. There’s no place I’d rather be. I wouldn’t have missed today’s ceremony for the world, because these are among my favorite days as superintendent.”
McCarthy said he has received hundreds of letters, emails and texts wishing him a speedy recovery, along with “way too many flowers.”
“Word of my demise was greatly exaggerated. I’m here. It’s not a funeral,” he said.
McCarthy checked himself into Northwestern Memorial Hospital last Thursday after waking up with chest pain. When he got to the hospital, doctors discovered a 100 percent blockage in one artery and an 80 percent blockage in another, so they immediately performed an angioplasty procedure.
He was released from the hospital two days later. He told the Sun-Times his doctors have ordered him to take medical leave until the end of the month.
First Deputy Supt. Al Wysinger, McCarthy’s second-in-command, will run the Chicago Police Department until the superintendent is back on the job.