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Sen. Tom Coburn to leave office due to cancer

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, 65, of Oklahoma will be leaving his elected-office in December, according to a Reuters report via Yahoo! News on Friday. The announcement came late Thursday when it was revealed that Coburn is battling cancer. His term would have ended in 2016 had he not needed to step down for health reasons.

Coburn issued a statement via his office which asserts that his decision to leave office is not about his health, his prognosis, or even his hopes and desires. Instead, he says that as a citizen, he is now convinced he can best serve his own children and grandchildren by shifting his focus elsewhere. However, he said he is looking forward to finishing this year strong while still in office.

President Barack Obama released a statement that said that those who have had the privilege of serving with Coburn will be sad to lose him as a colleague in Washington. Obama went on to announce that he and Coburn entered the Senate at the same time and became friends after their wives struck up a conversation. Obama concluded his statement by saying that he and Coburn have not always agreed politically, but they’ve found ways to work together. The people of Oklahoma, said the president, have been well-served by the “country doctor from Muskogee.” Coburn is a medical doctor.

Previously, Coburn has been treated for prostate cancer, and he is a 3-time cancer survivor.

Coburn’s elected-position will be replaced by the results of a special election in Oklahoma.