Arlen Specter Cancer: Former Pa. senator hospitalized with serious condition.

Ex-Sen. Arlen Specter Said To Be "Battling For His Life"

Ex-Sen. Arlen Specter Said To Be "Battling For His Life"

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Aug. 28 2012 8:29 AM

Arlen Specter Said To Be "Battling For His Life"

Arlen Specter attends a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month May 27, 2010

Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Some sad news out of Pennsylvania, where former Sen. Arlen Specter was reportedly hospitalized last night with a serious illness.

His family and friends haven't given too many details to the press about the 82-year-old's condition, but those who have spoken with reporters haven't painted a pretty picture.


One unnamed friend who spoke to the Philadelphia Daily News asked that people keep Specter in their thoughts and prayers. Another source close to the former Pennsylvania lawmaker told CNN that Specter was recently diagnosed with a "serious form of cancer" and had "a big flareup" last night night, information that was enough for the cable news network to run a headline stating that he is "battling for his life."

Specter has had a handful of serious health problems in recent years, including a brain tumor and Hodgkin's disease. According to CNN's source, Specter was diagnosed with a new form of cancer six or so weeks ago.

He served in the Senate from 1980 through 2011, all but the last two years of which as a Republican. But in 2009, facing the potential of a difficult GOP primary challenge, Specter jumped ship and joined Democrats to give the party a temporary 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. He nonetheless lost his 2010 Democratic primary and left the Senate the following year.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.