Former U.S. senator Arlen Specter was hospitalized yesterday and is fighting for his life after suffering a flare-up of a serious form of cancer, a source told CNN.

 

Specter, the longest-serving senator from Pennsylvania, battled a brain tumor in 1993 and again in 1996 and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2005. But his current hospitalization is due to a new form of cancer with which he was reportedly diagnosed six weeks ago, though his family is guarding the details.

 

Specter first stepped onto the national political stage in the early 1960s as a member of the Warren Commission that investigated President John F. Kennedy's assassination. He became a member of the U.S. Senate as a Republican in 1980, but switched his party affiliation to Democrat in 2009.

 

Specter lost the Democratic primary to Joe Sestak when he ran for reelection two years later, returning to his law practice and becoming a professor a the University of Pennsylvania Law School.