U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. revealed in an interview published Thursday that he was diagnosed with skin cancer over the summer.
The 58-year-old told the Deseret News that he was on a trip home to Utah when he learned that he has Stage 1 melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. He told the newspaper that he had some growths removed at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City and that the doctors there made the discovery.
"We’ll probably get it taken care of, and we’ll be fine,” he told the newspaper.
Nevertheless, he said that the diagnosis “kind of puts things in perspective.”
Huntsman, a former Utah governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, told the Deseret News that he had noticed a couple of small black spots on his skin — one behind his ear and one on his leg — but that he was shocked when doctors gave him the news.
Huntsman told the News reporter about the diagnosis in September but asked that he not mention it until the article was published.
They didn’t want anyone in Moscow to know he had cancer, worried about what they might do with the information. Already, he was subjected to a steady stream of propaganda about his activities in Russia created by state media. He had no idea what they’d do with a cancer diagnosis, but didn’t want to find out.
Huntsman told the newspaper that doctors will closely monitor his condition for the next year to ensure that the cancer has not spread to other parts of his body.
President Trump appointed Huntsman as the U.S. ambassador to Russia last year. Huntsman has also served as an ambassador to Singapore and China.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Jon Huntsman as the GOP presidential nominee in 2012. He was a candidate for the nomination.