- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Teachers union president Karen Lewis wants her privacy respected as she battles an illness that prompted her to take leave from her union duties and decide against a Chicago mayoral run.

Lewis hasn’t revealed the nature of her illness. However, in a statement released Wednesday by the teachers union, Lewis thanked the public for an outpouring of support and well wishes. She says the expressions have given her “a sense of renewed energy” as she shifts her focus to restoring her health.

Lewis was seen as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s most high-profile re-election challenger. For months, she circulated petitions and raised her profile at parades and political events. She often harshly criticized Emanuel and his policies.

After being hospitalized, she announced earlier this week she won’t run in 2015.

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