Legendary former Senator and longtime Washington D.C. fixture Bobe Dole announced on Thursday that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 97.
Dole’s announced via Twitter: “Recently, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. My first treatment will begin on Monday. While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own.”
The former Kansas lawmaker’s political career spanned nearly five decades and included a stint in the U.S. House of Representatives before moving on to serve in the Senate for nearly 30 years — including 11 years as the GOP leader –before retiring to focus on his burgeoning presidential campaign in 1996.
Dole ran on the Republican ticket against incumbent Bill Clinton, ultimately losing the bid for the nation’s highest office. This loss also marked the end of Dole’s official political career, though he hardly faded from the spotlight.
Dole has spent the last several decades writing books, giving lectures, promoting various charities, and making the occasional television appearance.
Prior to his time in Washington, Dole served in United States Army’s Enlisted Reserve Corps during WWII and was seriously injured by German gunfire while fighting in Italy.
Dole suffered severe injuries that took years to recover from and subsequently was decorated three times for his bravery, including receiving two Purple Hearts for his injuries, and the Bronze Star with “V” Device for valor for his attempt to assist a downed radioman in the conflict.
Well-wishes for Dole immediately came rolling in after the announcement of his diagnosis. Late-night television host Jon Stewart tweeted on Thursday: “Sending big love to my friend Bob Dole…still mad he was funnier than me on my show!!”
“Sending prayers for a speedy recovery to former Senator and WWII veteran Bob Dole,” wrote GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.