(NECN) - Tom Menino, Boston's former mayor of 20 years, has been diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer, confirmed his press secretary, Dot Joyce.
The illness was first reported by the Boston Globe, which reported that the cancer had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.
"He will continue to be the Mayor Menino everyone knows and loves. He is one tough cookie and no one should underestimate him," wrote Joyce in a statement.
Menino's successor, Mayor Marty Walsh, released the following statement:
"I've never known Tom Menino to back down from a fight, and I don't expect him to start now. Mayor Menino has always been here for the people of Boston, and we're behind him today, 100%. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Angela, their family and many friends."
He also tweeted, "Mayor Menino has always been here for Boston & we're behind him today. Thoughts & prayers are with him, Angela, their family & friends."
Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, who will be hosting the city's annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast Sunday, announced that the event would be dedicated to Menino.
Forry released the following statement:
"I was saddened by tonight's news about Mayor Thomas M. Menino's recent cancer diagnosis. But I also know that the last thing Mayor Menino wants any of us to do is worry or change our plans for a celebration."
Instead, tomorrow morning's St. Patrick's Day Breakfast will be dedicated to Mayor Menino and his speedy, successful recovery. I want the laughter and energy and prayers and positivity to flow from our breakfast to fill the mayor and his family with good cheer and courage. We are here to support him in his latest challenge and we'll do it by emulating his legendary resilience and strength of character."
Stay with NECN as this story develops.