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Karen Lewis Reportedly Has A Brain Tumor

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 14, 2014 2:15PM

Photo courtesy Chicago Teachers Union Local 1.

Karen Lewis’ political handlers showed veteran savvy Monday by waiting until late in the day, on an official government holiday, to announce the Chicago Teachers Union president was not running for mayor. Now we may know the health issue that forced her hand.

Although the statement released from Lewis’ exploratory committee Monday didn’t address her illness, the Sun-Times, citing an unnamed source, reported Lewis has a brain tumor. The surgery Lewis underwent last week was a five-hour procedure to remove the tumor, and she will begin a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation treatments soon.

Speculation as to the source of Lewis’ health problems has run rampant since she was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with “discomfort” Oct. 5, with many theories centering on heart trouble or complications from the bariatric procedure she underwent in Mexico last March. The possibility Lewis had a brain tumor was first revealed by NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern at a news conference held outside CTU headquarters last week.

The Sun-Times report ends that speculation and any arguments about whether Lewis had an obligation to make her condition public. It was a gossamer-thin line to balance; although she never publicly declared herself a candidate for mayor, Lewis was a public figure who fed the media speculation on her next move.

Lewis' decision to not run for mayor makes Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) Rahm Emanuel's primary challenger next February. Emanuel, who has had no love lost for Lewis since he was elected, released a statement wishing her a speedy recovery.

"I have always respected and admired Karen's willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city's future, but nothing is more important than a person's health. Along with all Chicagoans, I will keep Karen and her family in our thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to seeing her on her feet very soon."

Fioretti, in an email soliciting donations for his campaign Monday night, also wished Lewis a full recovery.