Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

Patterson will not seek re-election in 2020

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week, calling it "career ending."

A press conference was held Tuesday in Waterford where Patterson revealed the news of his cancer diagnosis. He said he has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and is undergoing treatment. He will not seek re-election in 2020, but said he has "every intention" of finishing his term.

  • Watch Patterson's emotional announcement above. 

After revealing the news, Patterson spent the rest of the news conference telling jokes and answering questions from the media.

"This is not a goodbye. This is just an announcement of a shitty deck of cards dealt to me, which I intend to play out," Patterson told the media.

Patterson, 80, was first elected county executive in 1992. Before then, he served as Oakland County Prosecutor for 16 years. He was re-elected to a seventh term in 2012. His current term is up in 2020.

"Alex Trebek has nothing on me. I’m fighting this cancer to be among the 10 percent who survive it,” said Patterson. "I will continue to do my job as Oakland County executive alongside the members of my administration who comprise the best team anywhere in government."

In addition to several controversial comments in past years, Patterson has had serious health issues, including injuries from a car crash in 2012.

Related: Oakland County Executive apologizes for controversial comments about group of regional CEOs

According to Patterson's office, he took office on Jan. 1, 1993 after serving 15 years as Oakland County prosecutor. If a vacancy were to occur in the county executive office, Chief Deputy County Executive Gerald D. Poisson shall take the constitutional oath of office and serve as county executive until the Oakland County Board of Commissioners appoints a successor or until a special election is held as provided by law (see Public Act 139 of 1973, Section 45.559a). 

If the board of commissioners elects to appoint a successor, the appointment shall be made no later than 30 days from the date of the vacancy. A county executive appointed by the board of commissioners shall serve until the next general election. If the board of commissioners does not make an appointment within 30 days, a special election shall be held at the earliest possible date allowed by the law.

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