Former Juneau Mayor Byron Mallott is recovering in a New Zealand hospital after undergoing emergency surgery Saturday evening to remove a blood clot from his brain.
Mallott's brother-in-law, Larry Powell of Yakutat, said the surgery was successful and doctors expect a full recovery.
"It was rather tense for a while until he got to the hospital," Powell said. "The real anxious period (during surgery) didn't last that long, but it was pretty scary."
Mallott, 59, was traveling in New Zealand over the weekend, studying Native education programs in small villages when he developed a headache that grew severe.
On Saturday, he was medevaced about 35 minutes north from the village of Tauranga to the city of Auckland, where doctors at Auckland Memorial Hospital removed the blood clot. Mallott was joined by his wife, Toni, shortly after he was admitted to the hospital.
Rep. Albert Kookesh, also board chairman of the Southeast Native regional corporation Sealaska and a longtime friend and colleague of Mallott, said he has been in touch with the family and was told the blood clot was removed before it reached the point of hemorrhaging.
Nianoa Thompson, a colleague of Mallott from Honolulu who accompanied him during the trip and throughout the surgery, kept family members updated during the operation.
Thompson said Mallott was monitored continually for mental capacity and described him as being "very alert" and "having full grasp of his environment and condition at all times."
Mallott will remain in Auckland for at least a few more days and then travel to the San Francisco area for further treatment at Stanford Medical Center.
Powell said Mallott will make a stop in Honolulu to break up the lengthy flight.
Mallott is president and CEO of the Alaska Native advocacy group First Alaskans Institute. He also has served as mayor of Yakutat, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., president and CEO of Sealaska Corp., and president of the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.