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Mr. Kelly, an astronaut, said he had rushed aboard a friend’s plane to fly to Arizona after hearing of the shooting.

“I just, you know, walked into the bathroom, and you know, broke down,” he said. “To hear that she died is just, it’s devastating for me.”

Mr. Kelly said he later learned that she was alive when he called Mrs. Giffords‘ mother, who was outside the operating room.

Mrs. Giffords isn’t aware that six people died in the shooting, including Gabe Zimmerman, one of her staff members, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Kelly told Ms. Sawyer that he was sure Mrs. Giffords recognizes him at her hospital bed, since she has continued with a habit of playing with his wedding ring — moving it up and down his finger and sometimes putting it on her thumb.

“She’s done that before,” he said. “She’ll do that if we’re sitting in a restaurant. She’ll do the same exact movements.”