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Monday, July 28, 2008

Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak says he has brain tumor

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak said today he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor but says that, “God willing,” he plans to be back at work soon.

Novak said he was diagnosed Sunday with a tumor and will soon begin treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

He issued the following statement:

“On Sunday, July 27, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I have been admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where doctors will soon begin appropriate treatment. “I will be suspending my journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period."

Novak is alert and talking — he wrote the statement announcing his illness — but in intensive care, where the hospital does not allow phone calls or flowers, according to his assistant, Kathleen Connolly.

"He's talking,'' Connolly said. "He seemed fine."

The diagnosis was sudden. Novak became ill Sunday during a family outing near Cape Cod, Mass. A family member called 911, and he was brought by ambulance to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where the diagnosis was made.

It’s too early to know whether the tumor is malignant or benign, his assistant said.

"They haven't even done the biopsy yet,'' Connolly said.

That’s to be done later today, she said.

Novak and his wife had gone to Massachusetts to visit his daughter at the shore.

"They flew up Saturday to spend a few days with his daughter and her family," Connolly said.

Novak, 77, struck a pedestrian last Wednesday while driving his Chevrolet Corvette in Washington, D.C. The man he struck suffered minor injuries, according to the Associated Press. Novak was issued a $50 citation.

Asked whether the accident might have been linked to the columnist's medical condition, Novak's reporter, Charlie Spiering, said today, "It's really too early to tell."

Novak said he didn't realize what happened and continued driving until a bicyclist stopped him, the Associated Press reported. David Bono, the bicyclist, said the pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk and was splayed across Novak's windshield.

Novak has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1966. His column is one of the nation’s longest-running syndicated columns.

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