Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Former U.S. senator and Republican presidential and vice presidential candidate Bob Dole announced Thursday that he's been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
Dole, 97, represented Kansas in the Senate for 27 years, the last 11 as the Republican leader.
"While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who have faced significant health challenges of their own," Dole said in a statement posted to Twitter.
The former senator said he will undergo treatment on Monday.
Dole was elected to the Senate in 1968 and won re-election four times before resigning in 1996 to run for president. He ultimately won the Republican nomination but lost the election to incumbent President Bill Clinton.
Before his election to the Senate, Dole served in the House as a representative from Kansas between 1961 and 1969.
Dole served in the U.S. Army during World War II and survived serious injuries in battle in Italy. He earned two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for valor during his service.
Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997, just weeks after Dole's electoral defeat.
"I had a dream -- that I would be here this historic week, receiving something from the president. But I thought it would be the [White House] front door key," Dole joked at the ceremony.
In 2018, Congress gave him the Congressional Gold Medal.
"I haven't known a better public servant, a man with a bigger heart, someone more focused on the good of the nation, more opposed to political drama, or a more incredible negotiator than [Dole]," Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., tweeted Thursday.
"Most every day as I walk the halls of the Capitol, I recognize the boots I wear now, were once worn by [him] and on days like this, those boots look mighty large."
In a tweet, Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly wished Dole "a swift recovery."