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Jon Huntsman, the US ambassador to Russia and veteran diplomat and politician, is battling cancer, he revealed in a wide-ranging interview published Thursday.
Huntsman, 58, received the melanoma diagnosis when he visited a doctor earlier this year about two small skin discolorations — one behind his ear and another on his thigh — that he’d recently discovered, he told the Deseret News of Utah, the state he served as governor from 2005 to 2009.
“It’s just stage 1,” Huntsman told the paper. “So we’ll probably get it taken care of, and we’ll be fine.”
Huntsman underwent an hours-long surgery to remove several malignant moles from his body soon after, having flown from Russia to his Utah doctor unannounced to keep the Russian propaganda machine from kicking into gear over the scary diagnosis, the report said.
Huntsman, who also served as ambassador to China during the Obama administration, will have to get regular check-ups throughout the next year, and remains optimistic he’s in the clear, he told Deseret News.
Nevertheless, “It kind of puts things in perspective,” he said.
Huntsman’s father, businessman and Nixon-era White House staff secretary Jon Huntsman Sr., died of cancer in February.
Melanoma also once afflicted one of Huntsman’s longtime political heroes, Arizona senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who died of a brain tumor in August.