05/03/2012 01:59 pm ET

Mark Kirk Leaves Rehab: Illinois Senator Heads Home 3 Months After Stroke

More than three months after he suffered a serious stroke, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is now leaving a rehabilitation center as he continues to recover amongst family in his Highland Park, Ill. home.

In a statement released Thursday, Kirk's family said "Mark has progressed to the point where he can move home with his family" and will continue to work toward his recovery as an outpatient and participant in a rigorous walking study program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Politico reports.

"We are grateful for the wonderful doctors and personnel at the RIC for their care of Mark, and to the residents of Illinois who have given him privacy and time to heal," the statement continued. "We also thank everyone who has shared their prayers and wishes for his return to the U.S. Senate as soon as possible."

Late last month, on the heels of the three-month anniversary of Kirk's Jan. 21 initial hospitalization, the first post-stroke photograph of the 52-year-old Illinois Republican was released in conjunction with a long-awaited update on his condition.

Richard L. Harvey of the rehabilitation facility described Kirk as "mentally sharp" and "fully engaged in all aspects of his rehabilitation program," in addition to meeting with his staff almost daily "to discuss policy issues and global current events."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that friends and colleagues of Kirk say the senator has been determined in his rehabilitation efforts. He continues to have his eye on a return to being an active member of the U.S. Senate.

After Kirk checked himself into the Lake Forest Hospital in January after suffering dizziness and headaches, doctors discovered a "carotid artery dissection." The senator was transferred to Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital where tests revealed he had suffered a stroke and he underwent emergency brain surgery.

In early February, Kirk, elected to President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat in the fall of 2010, transferred to the rehabilitation facility.