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Sen. Mark Kirk Returns to Senate for First Time Since Stroke

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., 45 steps awaited him upon his return to the Senate for the first time since his stroke last January.

Kirk slowly climbed the steps to the Capitol, a trip that took around ten minutes total including three stops -- the first to greet Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

“Welcome back man,” Biden exclaimed as Kirk ambled up the first few steps.

With Manchin and Biden bracing him, Kirk continued his walk up the Capitol steps, stopping half way through to wave to his colleagues from the House and Senate who had lined up along the steps for the monumental walk and more than 100 people gathered on the plaza.  

When Kirk reached the top, the crowd burst out in applause and cheered for a man who had spent the past year learning how to walk again.

Last January, doctors determined Kirk suffered an ischemic stroke after finding a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck. Kirk underwent surgery to reduce swelling around his brain and has gone through rehabilitation over the past year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio