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Dana Reeve has lung cancer

NEW YORK, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The wife of the late actor Christopher Reeve, Dana Reeve, announced Tuesday she has lung cancer.

Reeve, 44, who spent nine years caring for her paralyzed husband, released a statement disclosing her illness ahead of an impending tabloid report, "Access Hollywood" reported.

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"I have recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and am currently undergoing treatment," the release said. "I have an excellent team of physicians and we are optimistic about my prognosis."

Reeve asked the media to respect her family's privacy and added, "Now more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge."

Her husband was best known as Hollywood's Superman before a horseback riding accident left him paralyzed. He died Oct. 10, 2004.

Dana gave up her acting career to be by her husband's side throughout his ordeal and together they became activists for finding a cure for spinal cord injuries and helping those who suffer from them.

"Access Hollywood" said neither Dana or Christopher ever smoked.

The couple has a son, Will, 13.

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