Georgia Democratic Rep. and civil rights icon John Lewis has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
According to his office, the 79-year-old will undergo treatment.
“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 via a statement. “This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed.
“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,” he added.
Lewis was first elected to Congress in 1986 and has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes much of Atlanta.
Despite the diagnosis, John Lewis says he will continue to serve in the House of Representatives. “I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community,” he continued via his statement. “We still have many bridges to cross.”
According to his office, Lewis will return to Washington in the coming days to resume work and begin his treatment plan, “which will occur over the next several weeks.” He acknowledged though that he will miss a few votes during that period.
Lewis marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 in Selma, Alabama and had his skull broken by white police officers during the march across the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge. He is currently in his 17th term as a member of Congress.
Our thoughts are with John Lewis’ family and friends at this time and we’re hoping he makes a full recovery.