Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Rep. John Lewis will undergo treatment for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, his office announced on Sunday.
Lewis issued a statement saying he received the diagnosis during a routine medical visit and subsequent tests this month and it has since been reconfirmed.
"While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer debilitating as they once were and that I have a fighting chance," he said.
The 79-year-old Democrat representing Georgia said he will return to Washington D.C., in the coming days to continue his work in Congress and begin a treatment plan throughout the next several weeks.
"I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God's grace I will be back on the front lines soon," said Lewis. "Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey."
Former President Barack Obama, who awarded the civil rights leader with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, took to Twitter Sunday to offer him words of support as he battles his illness.
"If there's one thing I love about [Lewis], it's his incomparable will to fight," Obama said. "I know he's a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend."
Lewis has served Georgia's 5th District, which includes Atlanta, since 1987.