Harry Reid

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY NETWORK

Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid Undergoes Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

May 14, 2018 - 5:09 pm
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BALTIMORE (WCBS 880/CBS News/AP) -- Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was being treated Monday for pancreatic cancer, his family said in a statement.

Reid, 78, who represented Nevada, underwent surgery Monday at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore to remove a tumor from his pancreas. 

"His doctors caught the problem early during a routine screening and his surgeons are confident that the surgery was a success and that the prognosis for his recovery is good," the family statement said. 

Reid is out of surgery and in good spirits, his family went on to say, and he will now undergo chemotherapy as the next step in his treatment.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) has spoken to Reid's family and said "it seems @SenatorReid's operation went well."

Reid declined to seek re-election in 2016 after more than three decades in Congress. A 2015 accident left him blind in one eye.

A former boxer who grew up poor in the small town of Searchlight, Nevada, Reid rose to the one of the most powerful positions in American politics as Nevada's longest-serving senator.

He helped propel the passage of President Barack Obama's signature health care law and blocked the development of a nuclear waste dump in Nevada. He was also a champion of his home state's gaming and tourism industry and built up a well-organized Democratic machine in Nevada.

Well-wishers from both parties — including some former Republican opponents in Congress — released statements of support for Reid Monday.

Republican Sen. John McCain tweeted, "From one cantankerous senator to another, sending my prayers & best wishes to @SenatorReid as he recovers from a successful surgery."

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who was recruited by Reid to replace him, wished him a speedy recovery.

"Senator Reid is no stranger to a fight. He beat his opponents in the boxing ring, took on the mob in Nevada, and moved bills in the Senate that no one believed could be done. He'll beat cancer too," she said in a statement.

His former congressional rival, John Boehner, tweeted prayers for Reid, writing: "You're a fighter, Harry. You can whip this."

Reid and Boehner are working on creating a public policy think tank at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, focusing on policy issues that affect the tourism, hospitality and gambling industries.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)