CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Denver Broncos and former Carolina Panthers coach John Fox will have heart surgery Tuesday after feeling light-headed during a round of golf Saturday, according to a statement issued by the Broncos early Sunday morning.
“Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox will undergo an aortic heart valve replacement early next week at a Charlotte-area hospital," read the statement. "He will take a leave of absence from coaching for at least the next several weeks."
The statement said Fox knew he would need heart surgery, but thought it could wait until the off season. He had come to Charlotte during Denver's week off to meet with doctors.
“As part of his trip to North Carolina over the bye week, he had a preoperative appointment on Thursday with his doctor, who informed him to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort," said the team statement.
Fox became light-headed while playing golf with family and friends Saturday, according to reports. Fox still owns a home at Quail Hollow golf course, and occasionally enjoys a round of golf there. Denver is not playing a game this weekend, and team members have four days off.
A Broncos team source told the Denver Post that Fox did not want to get medical help initially, but a golf partner insisted.
MEDIC confirmed they responded to an address close to Fox's home on the back nine at Quail Hollow around 2:41 p.m.
Reports by ESPN initially indicated Fox may have suffered a mild heart attack, but that turned out not to be the case.
Three hours after Fox went to the hospital, Broncos Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Smyth tweeted: "Talked to Coach Fox a few minutes ago. Did not have a heart attack. Is in good spirits and undergoing additional testing at hospital."
An hour later he followed up by relaying a text from Fox, which said, "I am doing fine. We are just running some tests and will know more in a few hours."
The Broncos also released this statement:
Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox was taken to a Charlotte-area hospital after feeling light-headed while playing golf on Saturday.
He is being held at the hospital for testing and further observation. Our medical staff is currently in contact with Coach Fox, his family and the doctors who are treating him.
Senior FoxSports reporter Jay Glazer tweeted late Saturday that he spoke to Coach Fox from the hospital.
Glazer tweeted, "Fox told me, 'It's something I've known I needed to take care of for a while.'"
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, who initially reported the episode was a heart attack, tweeted late Saturday night that Fox will continue to undergo tests Sunday.
Schefter also tweeted: "Broncos HC John Fox knew there was an issue with heart valve that had to be addressed. Hoped it would wait until after season. Now unlikely."
Family and friends arrived at Fox's home Saturday night with little to say about his condition, other to confirm he was fine.
The Broncos also released a short statement from Fox:
“I sincerely appreciate all of the support from friends, Denver Broncos fans and so many around the league today.
“Although I am disappointed I must take some time away from the team to attend to this pre-existing health condition, I understand that it’s the right thing to do. I have great confidence in our coaches and players, who are fully committed to our goals.
“I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible.”
Longtime neighbor Anne Wallenhaupt was surprised to hear Fox had fallen ill.
"Our neighborhood's pretty tight knit," she said, "so it's really sad to hear something like that could have happened to him -- but I'm glad he's doing okay."
"I'm glad it's not as serious as people thought it was going to be," she added.
The Broncos are scheduled to play San Diego next weekend. The team has not yet announced who will take his place on the sidelines.