John Lewis, the longtime Civil rights icon and United States representative has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Lewis’ office made the announcement Sunday and that the 79-year-old will undergo treatment for it.
“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,” Lewis said in a statement. “This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed.”
He added, “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 has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes much of metro Atlanta since he was first elected in 1986. Last year he was briefly hospitalized after falling ill during a flight back to Atlanta.
In 2011, then-President Barack Obama honored Lewis by giving him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor to be bestowed upon a civilian.