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Jesse Jackson Jr. 'debilitated' by depression but no plans to step down, family says

Mitch Dumke / Reuters

U.S. Rep Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has been on an extended leave of absence from his job while he gets treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

The wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says he is “completely debilitated” by depression but Jackson’s father says the Illinois congressman has no plans to quit his post.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he has visited his son at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he is being treated. He said there’s no timeline for his recovery.

“He’s taking his treatment. This takes time. We can’t put a timetable on it.,” the elder Jackson said Saturday after his weekly radio broadcast at Rainbow PUSH, the Chicago Sun-Times reported

The elder Jackson spoke a day after his daughter-in-law, Sandi Jackson, told the Sun-Times her husband had become “completely debilitated by depression.” 

Sandi Jackson, an alderman for Chicago’s 7th Ward, denied rumors that her husband attempted suicide or was being treated for alcohol and drug addiction.

““No, no, none of that is true,” she told the Sun-Times.

The fate of Jesse Jackson Jr., an Illinois Democrat, has been the subject of speculation ever since he reportedly “collapsed” on June 10 at his home in Washington. He sought treatment for exhaustion at the Sierra Tucson Treatment Center in Arizona, then transferred to the Mayo Clinic.

Jackson and his family have released few details of his ordeal.

 “I fully expect him to return to work, but not a day before the doctor says it’s OK,” Sandi Jackson told the Sun-Times. “And although he has talked about teaching, he’s focusing on going back to work, back to his job. He is a gifted legislator.”

Jackson’s illness comes as the House Ethics Committee is investigating his connections to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted on corruption charges in connection with his efforts to profit from appointing a successor to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after he was elected president.. Jackson was not charged and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.