BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor, doctors treating him at Massachusetts General Hospital said Tuesday.
Kennedy, 76, was hospitalized Saturday morning after suffering a seizure at his family's compound at Hyannisport, Massachusetts.
"Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe," according to a statement from the doctors treating the senator.Malignant glioma is the most common primary brain tumor, accounting for more than half of the 18,000 primary malignant brain tumors diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was confident Kennedy would get through his health crisis.
"Sen. Kennedy has been a fighter all his life," she said.
"He is a fighter -- a fighter for our children, for our workers, for our seniors. He is a champion fighting for health care for all Americans.
"I know that that fighting spirit will hold him in good stead in the challenge that he faces now."
Kennedy had surgery in October to clear his carotid artery in hopes of preventing a stroke.
In recent days, the powerful Democrat appeared in fine health. On Friday, he took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new maritime learning center in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Senate Democrats and Republicans were in their weekly closed policy lunches in the Capitol when the news of Kennedy's diagnosis broke.
Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced the news to his Democratic colleagues. The wind was taken out of the room, said one senator. There was "stunned silence," said another
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, a close friend of Kennedy's, released a statement saying, "Ted Kennedy has spent his life caring for those in need. Now it's time for those who love Ted and his family to care for them and join in prayer to give them strength."New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg said, "Ted Kennedy makes the Senate the place that it is, and has for so many years."
I know what the Kennedy family is going through. In September of 2006 my Father was diagnosed as having a stroke and he too had a Brain tumor. Today would have been his 70th Birthday. My thoughts and prayers go to The Kennedy family.