BOSTON (AP) — Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Thursday he is suspending treatment for an advanced form of cancer as well as a recently-launched book tour to spend more time with his family and friends.
Menino, 71, was diagnosed with cancer about a month after leaving office in January. At the time, he said the cancer was of an unknown origin, had metastasized and had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.
“I am hopeful and optimistic that one day the talented researchers, doctors and medical professionals in this city will find a cure for this awful disease,” he said in the statement Thursday. “(My wife) Angela and I are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support and kindness shown to our family and ask that everyone keep us in their thoughts and prayers.”
Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce said the ex-mayor remained hospitalized after suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, likely related to cancer treatment. She declined to elaborate on the former mayor’s statement.
Menino was admitted a week ago to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, forcing him to cancel appearances in Washington, D.C. in support of his new memoir, “Mayor For A New America.” He had three Boston book tour appearances lined up next week, among other public commitments.
Menino is the city’s longest serving mayor and one of its most beloved, leaving office after 20 years with an approval rating hovering around 80 percent.
The Hyde Park native’s political career roughly traced Boston’s modern development, from desegregation of the public school system and the ensuing busing protests of the 1970s to the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
“I paid attention to the fundamentals of urban life — clean streets, public safety, good schools, neighborhood commerce,” Menino wrote in his memoir, which was released earlier this month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Call my City Hall and you never got an answering machine. People trusted government because it heard them. Because they could talk to it. Because it kept its word.”
As council president in 1993, Menino became acting mayor after President Bill Clinton appointed then-Mayor Raymond Flynn to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. He won his first four-year term as mayor later that year.
Menino decided not to seek re-election in 2013 and currently serves as co-director at Boston University’s Initiative on Cities.
Menino was admitted to the hospital several times while in office. In 2003, he underwent surgery to remove a rare sarcoma on his back. The following year, his doctors confirmed he had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
He spent six weeks in the hospital in 2012 for a series of ailments, including a respiratory infection. While he was in the hospital, he suffered a compression fracture in his spine and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In May 2013, he was back in the hospital for surgery for an enlarged prostate.