Bob Dole was a United States Senator to Kansas from 1969 to 1996, where he served part of that time as Senate Majority Leader.

WASHINGTON – Bob Dole, a longtime former senator and 1996 Republican presidential candidate, announced on Thursday that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Dole, 97, said in a brief statement he was recently diagnosed and would start treatment on Monday.

“While I certainly have some hurdles to overcome, I also know that I reach out to millions of Americans who are themselves facing significant health challenges,” he said.

Dole received an immediate wave of sympathy, prayers and wishes from all walks of life.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, called Dole a friend and tweeted her wishes for a speedy recovery. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, a Republican who once occupied Dole’s seat, expressed his sadness over the cancer diagnosis and offered his prayers. Freshman Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, who received Dole’s approval while running last year and described him as a mentor, said he was not known “a man with a bigger heart”.

Retired Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, a Republican, predicted that Dole would fight cancer “with his usual courage and determination.”

“We know cancer is difficult, but Bob Dole is more difficult,” Roberts said in a statement.

Dole, a native of Russell, Kansas, represented the state in Congress for nearly 36 years before stepping down from the Senate in 1996 to challenge Democratic President Bill Clinton. Dole had unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 1980 and 1988, and was Vice Presidential running mate to President Gerald Ford in 1976, when Ford lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

After his last candidacy in 1996, Dole continued to be involved in Republican politics, offering support and commenting on public issues. He was known throughout his congressional career for both his sharp tongue and his skills in making legislative deals.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican, tweeted that Dole is “a true American patriot and a great statesman.”

Dole was a driving force behind the WWII memorial on the National Mall, speaking poignantly when it opened in 2004 in front of tens of thousands of 80 and 90-year-old veterans, calling it “our last. meeting”.

He served with Clinton in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as co-chair of a scholarship fund for the families of the victims. He received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2018 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997 for his public service.

Dole overcame the crippling war wounds suffered near the end of World War II to forge his long political career. Charging a German position in northern Italy in 1945, Dole was hit by a shell fragment that crushed two vertebrae and paralyzed his arms and legs. The young army platoon leader spent three years recovering in a hospital but never regained the use of his right hand.

Dole left the military as captain, but Congress in 2019 approved a promotion for him to the colonel. He also received two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for his military service.

A lawyer, Dole served in Kansas House and as a Russell County attorney before being elected to the United States House in 1960. He won a Senate seat in 1968 and became Senate Majority Leader afterwards. the 1984 elections.

He led Republicans when they were in the minority for eight years, from 1987 to 1995, and then again as majority leader from 1995. He remained the Republicans’ longest-serving Senate leader, nearly. age 11 and a half, up to the current minority. Frontman Mitch McConnell broke the record in 2018.

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