BREAKING NEWS Finally Feeling Like Fall Full Story

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis announces he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis announced that he has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.

Posted: Dec 30, 2019 10:22 AM
Updated: Dec 30, 2019 10:22 AM


Civil rights icon and US Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, his office announced Sunday.

Lewis, 79, said he was diagnosed following a routine medical visit with subsequent tests that reconfirmed the diagnosis. The long-time Georgia congressman will undergo treatment for the 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," Lewis, who in March 1965 joined forces with Martin Luther King Jr. to lead a voting rights march out of Selma, Alabama, said in a statement.

He continued later: "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."

Pancreatic cancer was the third-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States in 2018, after lung and colorectal cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. The cancer, on average and across all stages, has a five-year survival rate of 9%, according to the American Cancer Society.

But Lewis, who is in his 17th term as a member of Congress, is vowing to continue his work, stating that he'll return to Washington in the coming days to begin his treatment plan, which will last several weeks.

"I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God's grace I will be back on the front lines soon," he said.

Lewis has represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District, which includes much of Atlanta, since first being elected in 1986.

A leader of a civil rights group called Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, he was one of the participants in the key 1965 civil rights protest pushing for voting rights from Selma to Alabama's capital, Montgomery. Lewis -- who had his skull broken by white police officers during the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma -- was, by his own count, arrested more than 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.

"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. We still have many bridges to cross," Lewis said Sunday.

News of Lewis' diagnosis shook Washington Sunday, prompting an outpouring of support. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Lewis in a tweet that "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," Pelosi, a California Democrat, said. "We know that you will be well."

Former President Bill Clinton echoed the same sentiment, tweeting, "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."

And former President Barack Obama -- who in 2011 presented Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor -- wrote: "If there's one thing I love about (Rep. John Lewis), 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."

In recent years, Lewis has drawn headlines for stirring up what he calls "good trouble" for his vocal opposition to President Donald Trump -- including voting to impeach the President earlier this month.

In July, he offered a forceful rebuke of Trump's racist tweets against four Democratic congresswomen of color.

"I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government, there's no room for racism," he said.

"It sows the seeds of violence and destroys the hopes and dreams of people. The world is watching. They are shocked and dismayed because it seems we have lost our way as a nation, as a proud and great people."

This story has been updated with additional developments Sunday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 813481

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139971910
Mobile722271323
Madison51970686
Shelby37279341
Baldwin37069540
Tuscaloosa34934599
Montgomery33953725
Lee23142240
Calhoun22142470
Morgan20639372
Etowah19758496
Marshall18245300
Houston17302405
St. Clair15912337
Cullman15306290
Limestone15202198
Elmore15075284
Lauderdale14143294
Talladega13715272
DeKalb12569259
Walker11085366
Blount10094174
Autauga9893146
Jackson9789180
Coffee9182189
Dale8859181
Colbert8789200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6732127
Covington6682179
Chilton6587160
Russell625958
Franklin5930105
Chambers5559142
Marion4955126
Dallas4882199
Clarke472782
Pike4719105
Geneva4564126
Winston4473101
Lawrence4264117
Bibb421686
Barbour355475
Marengo334089
Monroe330262
Randolph327063
Butler324794
Pickens313882
Henry310965
Hale309187
Cherokee299957
Fayette290679
Washington250951
Cleburne246958
Crenshaw243575
Clay240367
Macon230562
Lamar215846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178538
Lowndes173761
Wilcox167438
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131038
Greene125544
Choctaw86927
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A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
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