CHICAGO - Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis won't try to unseat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in next year's mayoral contest.

Lewis had established an exploratory committee and was expected to run. Polls showed her more popular than the incumbent.

Lewis' exploratory committee announced Monday she would not run. The announcement came after reports that she was hospitalized on Oct. 5 and was suffering from a serious illness.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported late Monday that she is being treated for a cancerous brain tumor and will undergo chemotherapy and radiation. She also underwent undisclosed surgery.

Lewis, 61, gained national notoriety for her tough criticisms of Emanuel and his education policies and she led teachers in their first strike in more than two decades last year. The mayor holds sway over Chicago Public Schools through his appointment of board of education members and he handpicks the system's chief executive officer.

Emanuel said in a statement: "I have always respected and admired Karen's willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city's future, but nothing is more important than a person's health. Along with all Chicagoans, I will keep Karen and her family in our thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to seeing her on her feet very soon."

Alderman Bob Fioretti has announced he will run against Emanuel.

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