U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet announced late Wednesday that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The news comes as the Colorado Democrat has been pondering a possible run for the presidency next year and has been making stops in early caucus and primary states.
"Late last month, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer," Bennet said in an email to Colorado Politics at 8:35 p.m. MT Wednesday.
"While hearing news like this is never easy, I am fortunate it was detected early, and as a result, my prognosis is good," he added.
"During the upcoming Senate recess, I will have surgery in Colorado and return to work following a brief recovery."
Bennet, 54, had been planning to make his presidential candidacy official in April and decided to get a physical before that, according to an earlier report by columnist Mike Littwin for the Colorado Independent, which was confirmed to Colorado Politics by Bennet's top political consultant, Craig Hughes.
After the diagnosis, Bennet said he decided to schedule surgery to remove his prostate during the congressional recess, which starts April 11.
Hughes confirmed that Bennet intends to mount a campaign for the presidency if he's cancer-free after the surgery.
In his email, Bennet said: "The work we have in front of us to restore a politics that is worthy of our kids and grandkids has never been more important. This unanticipated hurdle only reinforces how strongly I feel about contributing to the larger conversation about the future of our country, and I am even more committed to drive that conversation in a positive direction."
Bennet's Republican colleague, Sen. Cory Gardner, with whom he has collaborated on many policy issues over the years, tweeted this late Wednesday:
"Jaime and I are holding @SenatorBennet and his family in our prayers and know he won’t let this stop his continued work for Colorado and our country. Here is to a full and speedy recovery."
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democratic presidential candidate and long-time Bennet ally, expressed his support in a statement to Colorado Politics.
Said Hickenlooper: “Robin and I are relieved that they discovered the cancer so early, and that Michael has such a good prognosis. He is a fighter — a true Coloradan at heart. We are here for him and Susan and their wonderful daughters.”
Bennet got his start in Colorado political circles working on Hickenlooper's 2003 mayoral campaign and served as Hickenlooper's first chief of staff after he was elected.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had this to say via Twitter:
"I know Michael Bennet, and this is not going to hold him back. He is one of the best public servants I know. I join all of Denver in praying for him and looking forward to his full recovery. #BeatCancer"
And the Colorado Republican Party tweeted:
"Our prayers go out to @SenatorBennet. We hope he makes a full and speedy recovery."
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