U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) announced Sunday he has stage four pancreatic cancer and will be undergoing treatment.
"While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance," Lewis said in a statement.
Statement from Rep. John Lewis' office re: undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. “I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now." https://t.co/16gYmmn7Qr— Saba Hamedy (@saba_h) December 29, 2019
The 79-year-old civil rights leader, who was once “beaten bloody” by police during demonstrations in the 1960s, said cancer is his biggest challenge yet.
"I have been in some kind of fight -- for freedom, equality, basic human rights -- for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now," he said.
Lewis said he will remain in Congress, despite having to miss votes on occasion.
“We still have many bridges to cross,” he said. “I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon.”
Friends of Lewis were quick to offer words of encouragement.
If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 30, 2019
If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John. Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family. https://t.co/gNVEu1dijU— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) December 29, 2019
.@RepJohnLewis, we are all praying for you following this diagnosis. John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight. We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well. pic.twitter.com/j7YMUGLPC2— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 29, 2019
Lewis has represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District since 1986.