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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announces he has late-stage stomach cancer

Mayor Tom Henry
Tom Henry for Mayor
Photo provided
Mayor Tom Henry

Fort Wayne Tom Henry has late-stage stomach cancer. The announcement in a brief press conference today (Monday) at Citizens Square comes roughly a month after his wife Cindy passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Henry was recently re-elected to an historic fifth term.

In his announcement, Henry said in part “I have complete confidence in the team in charge of my care and in my ability to carry out my term as your mayor for as long as God sees fit.”

He says initial scans have shown the cancer is spreading through his lymph nodes and other organs, saying “my prognosis is not exactly encouraging.”

He will begin chemotherapy treatments next week. Neither he nor his administration were available for questions after the announcement.

Henry did not say when he learned of his cancer diagnosis nor give any other details about his prognosis. He promises to keep the community updated as possible, and asks for “privacy and prayers while (he) navigates this difficult situation.”

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock (5th-D) has been on the council for 12 of Henry's 16 years as mayor.

In a statement on Henry's diagnosis, Paddock said, "Tom Henry is strong both physically and mentally. He has been through a great deal in the past year, but he is prepared to continue to lead our great city in 2024 and far beyond. When I spoke with him he was upbeat, jovial, and optimistic about the future. He is also surrounding himself with his family and close friends."

The Third District Democrats, who last year recognized Henry's late wife as the 2023 Democrat of the year, also released a statement on Henry's diagnosis.

They said "The prayers of everyone in the Third District regardless of politics are with the Henry family tonight and throughout the coming weeks and months as he faces this fight courageously."

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said in a statement that he was saddened to hear of Henry's medical news.

"I have no doubt that Mayor Henry will fight this disease, just like he’s been a fighter for Fort Wayne all his life on both the city council and as our mayor.

"Words cannot express how much I value his friendship and partnership. He cares deeply for our community, and I know he will continue serving our community with his steadfast leadership as he faces this health challenge head-on," he said. "Mayor Tom, I want you to know: We're all rooting for you."

Should Henry, a Democrat, be forced away from his duties as mayor, whether that be because he is forced to resign, dies, or becomes incapacitated, Indiana law would require Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer to assume the role on an interim basis until the Allen County Democrats caucus in a replacement to finish out the term.

The primary process and general election would then take over.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.