MADONNA RUSHED TO HOSPITAL
A SHELL-SHOCKED Madonna -- still reeling from the terrorist tragedy -- was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital. And to make matters worse, she had to be rushed OUT of the hospital because of a terrifying bomb threat.
But pals say as soon as she's mended, the defiant diva plans to throw herself into fund-raising for victims, survivors and their families.
"Several weeks into her 'Drowned World' tour, Madonna began having abdominal pains from riding a mechanical bull that is part of her act. But she didn't want to disappoint her fans by postponing any concert dates, so she gamely kept on," said an insider.
But after the tour was over she wasted no time going to the hospital.
"She slipped into Cedars-Sinai on September 19 for surgery to repair an abdominal hernia. In all the commotion over the terrorist attacks she didn't want to call any attention to herself."
While the superstar was at Cedars, a bomb threat was phoned in and she was forced to flee.
"Madonna had to leave the hospital early while she was still in pain," said a source who was at the hospital.
"As she walked back to her car in the hospital's basement garage you could clearly see she was terrified and in pain. She looked weak as a rag doll."
Physically the tour has been particularly grueling for Madonna.
She canceled a sold-out show in August because of laryngitis and she did not want to disappoint fans again.
Madonna's surname, Ciccone, loosely translated from Italian, means "fat man."
So she bravely soldiered on despite her hernia pain.
"She was exhausted even before she began the 'Drowned World' tour. After all, she just had her baby son, Rocco, a little over a year ago.
"And the tour itself was exhausting, particularly having to ride the mechanical bull over and over again.
"The terrorism, the bomb threat and her health woes are all a powerful reminder to her that families and loved ones are precious and should be appreciated.
"Right now Madonna sees herself first and foremost as a mother and she's savoring every waking minute she has to spend with her two children.
"She told a friend, 'What happened in New York put my life in perspective for me. My primary role now is to be with my family.'
"Madonna was disappointed that she couldn't perform at the America: 'A Tribute to Heroes' telethon because of her health problem. But she insists she'll rally and throw herself into the cause once she's back on her feet."
-- PATRICIA TOWLE and MICHAEL GLYNN