By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
July 29, 2008
The columnist Robert Novak has a brain tumor and will stop writing and making television appearances, at least temporarily.
“On Sunday, July 27, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor,” Mr. Novak said in a statement on Monday. “I have been admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where doctors will soon begin appropriate treatment. I will be suspending my journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period.”
His office in Washington declined to give more information, but referred a reporter to statements made by his assistant, Kathleen Connolly, to The Chicago Sun-Times, the home newspaper of his column.
In an article on that newspaper’s Web site, Ms. Connolly said that Mr. Novak and his wife, Geraldine, flew to Massachusetts on Saturday to visit their daughter, near Cape Cod. On Sunday, she said, he was taken ill, but she did not elaborate. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and admitted to the intensive care ward.
Ms. Connolly added that Mr. Novak is alert and talking — he dictated the prepared statement, himself — and that he will undergo a biopsy at some time in the next few days to determine the kind of tumor he has.
Mr. Novak, 77, is one of the most prominent political journalists in the country, with a widely syndicated column he has written for 45 years, and regular appearances on television shows. His memoir, “Prince of Darkness,” was published last year.
He gained an added measure of notoriety in 2003, for being the first to publicly identify Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative, a leak that became the subject of a lengthy federal investigation. A small-government conservative on most issues, Mr. Novak has parted ways with Republican orthodoxy at times, including in questioning the justification for the Iraq war.
Last week, while driving in Washington, Mr. Novak struck a pedestrian, who was not seriously hurt, and said later that he had not been aware he had hit anyone. It is not clear whether the brain tumor contributed to that accident.