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Columnist Novak retires, citing 'dire' cancer news

August 05, 2008|From the Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Columnist Robert Novak is retiring immediately because of a grim prognosis in his battle against a brain tumor.

Novak, 77, a conservative Chicago Sun-Times political commentator whose columns are syndicated nationwide, was diagnosed with the tumor last week and admitted to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He announced at the time that he was suspending his journalistic work "for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period."

Monday, however, the Sun-Times quoted Novak as announcing his immediate retirement in view of what he called his "dire" prognosis.

"The details are being worked out with the doctors this week, but the tentative plan is for radiation and chemotherapy," Novak told the Sun-Times.

Last month, Novak struck a pedestrian at a Washington intersection while driving his Corvette. He said he did not realize he had hit anyone until he was flagged down by a passing bicyclist. The pedestrian sustained a dislocated shoulder and was hospitalized. Novak received a $50 ticket.

Novak was criticized for a 2003 column in which he identified Valerie Plame, the wife of a former diplomat who had become a Bush administration critic, as a CIA operative.

The column led to an investigation that culminated with the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. President Bush commuted Libby's sentence.

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