Rep. John Lewis to undergo treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisPelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Tim Scott: Trump's 'shooting,' 'vicious dogs' tweets 'are not constructive' MORE (D-Ga.) said on Sunday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and will undergo treatment soon.

“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," the 79-year-old congressman said in a statement detailing his prognosis on Sunday afternoon.

“This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed," he continued.


He said that while he is "clear-eyed" about the prognosis, doctors have told him that recent medical advances have made the type of cancer he has been diagnosed with "treatable in many cases" and added that he has "a fighting chance."

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

The Georgia Democrat added that he plans to return to return to Washington in the coming days to continue his work in Congress and also begin a treatment plan, which he added “will occur over the next 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.

The news comes months after the veteran lawmaker celebrated his 79th birthday. At the time, top Democrats and many on social media heaped praise on the congressman for his long history of social activism.

Prior to first being elected to Congress in 1986, Lewis rose to national prominence as a civil rights leader for his work as a freedom fighter and famously marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the March on Washington in 1963.

Democrats running for president were among lawmakers to share messages of support and encouragement for the civil rights icon, recognizing him as a hero and fighter, in tweets shortly after Lewis's Sunday announcement.