Georgia congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis (D-Ga.) has been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and will undergo treatement for the condition, his office said on Sunday.
The 79-year-old, 17-term congressman first learned of his diagnosis earlier this month after what was described as a "routine medical visit."
“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 the statement.
“So 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 added. "We still have many bridges to cross."
Lewis, who has represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District since 1987, says he plans on returning to D.C. in the coming days "to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks."
Lewis' statement drew an outpouring of support online, including from two former Democrat presidents who worked with him during their terms in office.
"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," former President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter.
"If there's anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it's you, John," former President Bill Clinton tweeted on Sunday. "Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family."
Lewis added that his treatment plan may mean he will miss a few votes over the next few weeks, but that "with God's grace, I will be back on the front lines soon."
“Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey," Lewis said.
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