ATLANTA – Coretta Scott King (search) suffered a minor heart attack and a major stroke that impaired her ability to speak and affected her right side, but she is "completely aware," a doctor said Thursday.
King's daughter said the family expected a full recovery.
Dr. Charles Wickliffe, a cardiologist at Piedmont Hospital, where the 78-year-old widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (search) had been hospitalized for two days, said a blood clot had moved from King's heart and lodged in an artery in the left side of her brain.
"This same clot caused a small heart attack and a big stroke," said Wickliffe, addressing reporters along with King's four children.
"She's completely aware," he said. "She's not able yet to relay her wishes."
The stroke caused weakness in King's right arm, her right leg and the right side of her face, and she was not able to speak, Wickliffe said. He said she would remain in the hospital for days and would need intensive therapy.
"We have to retrain the right side of her body to do the normal things that you do," Wickliffe said.
He said she was in fair condition and on intravenous and oral blood thinners to prevent any further occurrences.
Her daughter, Yolanda, said she was stricken about 10 a.m. Tuesday at her home in Atlanta's Buckhead section. She said they were having a conversation when her mother suddenly stopped talking. Family members immediately took her to the hospital.
"We are completely assured she will come to a complete recovery. We believe this is a cleverly disguised opportunity to grow," she said. "We have all prayed in our own ways. There's been a lot going on."
Thursday was the first time all the siblings were able to be there, she said. One daughter, Bernice, was in Africa and a son, Dexter, was in Los Angeles.
"We thank the public for all their prayers and support," said the other son, Martin Luther King III (search).
The family had not disclosed her condition before, he said, but "we thought it was very important to bring some clarity."
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson (search) came to the hospital Thursday, although he didn't visit King's bedside.
"The good news is, she is a tough person and she is going to survive this," Jackson told reporters.