- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama said Friday that U.S. Rep. Mark Takai of Hawaii has been a champion for American military members and thanked him for his service.

The thanks came after Takai recently said he has cancer and would not seek reelection.

In a statement, Obama said the congressman, who served in the Hawaii Army National Guard, has always been a fighter and will take that spirit to his battle against cancer.

“Michelle and I thank Mark for his leadership and service, but also for his courage and tireless advocacy for cancer research - research that has given hope to others who fight this disease every day,” Obama said in the statement. The president offered his continued support.

Takai was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and recently learned the disease had spread.

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