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posted: 3/3/2010 12:01 AM

Ex-Cherokee Chief Mankiller diagnosed with cancer

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The husband of former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller says his wife has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Mankiller's husband, Charlie Soap, made the announcement Tuesday in a news release issued by the tribe.

Soap said the 64-year-old Mankiller has stage 4 metastatic pancreatic cancer but offered no other details. He asked that the public respect the family's privacy.

Mankiller served as the tribe's chief from December 1985 until retiring in 1995. She is one of the few women ever to lead a major American Indian tribe.

In a written statement, Mankiller said she planned to spend her time with family and close friends "and engaging in activities I enjoy."