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Rep. Charlie Norwood


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Charlie Norwood is leaving Washington to receive hospice care at home in Georgia, forgoing further treatment for lung cancer that has spread to his liver.

Norwood's spokesman, John Stone, said Wednesday that the seven-term Republican is not yet resigning from Congress but has decided to go home to Augusta, Georgia, to be with his family and "put it in the Lord's hands."

"He has spent three months just sick as a dog and finally just said, 'That's it. I'm going home,"' Stone said. "The goal now is to make him as comfortable as he can be ... for as long as the Lord will let him stay with us, and nobody knows how long that will be."

Stone said Norwood would re-evaluate the situation after returning home and that he was not ruling out further treatment if he feels better. Norwood's congressional office will continue operating "as if he's sitting in the next room," Stone said.

Norwood, 65, received a lung transplant in 2004. He suffers from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease.

Last year, doctors discovered a small cancerous tumor on his nontransplanted lung. They removed the cancer with surgery but then discovered more on his liver when Norwood returned to Washington after easily winning re-election in November.

Stone said Norwood would leave Washington as soon as an air ambulance flight could be arranged.

Norwood, a folksy dentist, never held public office before winning a seat in Congress in 1994.

Democrats have a 233-202 majority in the House, so Norwood's absence will not have a significant effect on the balance of power.

In his State of the Union address last month, President Bush wished Norwood a speedy recovery.

Stone said Norwood was looking forward to sitting in his recliner at home and watching congressional proceedings on television.

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