Today a spokesperson for former Congressman Louis Stokes, Ohio’s first Black Congressman, saying he has been diagnosed with brain and lung cancer. Stokes in 90 and served in Congress for thirty years, from 1969 to 1999.
“He has always stood up for the right thing. There’s never been anybody quite like him the history of Cleveland…never touched by scandal, an iconic figure in in the black community, but well beyond the black community,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told WKYC.
“Congressman Stokes is a fighter. For more than three decades, he fought for the people of Ohio, and he is still fighting today. Congressman Stokes is my mentor, predecessor and friend. It is a privilege to work with him and walk in his Congressional footsteps. My prayers are with him, his family and his doctors. Let us all continue to uplift and encourage the Stokes family,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge.
“I’ve made it my career fighting for the people of Ohio. But now I must devote my time and energy to working with my doctors in this current health challenge in which my family and I are totally immersed,” Stokes said in a statement.
Several public officials who know Stokes say they’ve talked with him over the last few days. Rep. Fudge remarked that his fight will be “an uphill battle.”
Stokes’s brother, Carl Stokes, was the first African American to become Mayor of a major American city in 1967 when he became Mayor of Cleveland. Carl Stokes dies in 1996 at the age of 68.
The entire statement released by Stokes today is below:
Retired U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes, who served the 21st and 11th Districts of Ohio for 30 years, has recently been diagnosed with lung and brain cancer. He is fortunate to have the availability and treatment of excellent health care from the world renowned staff and doctors of one of the top medical centers, the Cleveland Clinic.
The congressman recently said, “For years, I’ve made it my career in fighting for the people of Ohio, but now I must devote my time and energy to working with my doctors in this current health challenge which my family and I are totally immersed.”
In February 2015, the Congressman turned 90 years of age and recently completed his autobiography documenting his illustrious legal and political career where he was often a champion in the civil rights movement.
Congressman Stokes expresses his utmost appreciation to the public for the privacy they have extended to him and his family as they engage in this fight.