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Powerful South Carolina lawmaker Hugh Leatherman in hospice care

Leatherman was first elected to the chamber in 1980 and serves as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s oldest and most powerful state lawmaker is currently receiving hospice care after the discovery of what colleagues describe as an inoperable cancer.

A GOP senator told The Associated Press on Thursday that Hugh Leatherman’s staff notified a handful of lawmakers the 90-year-old Florence Republican was recently hospitalized after experiencing severe abdominal pain. 

Leatherman was first elected to the chamber in 1980 and serves as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which has sway over the state's budget.