KANKAKEE, Ill. (CBS) – The family of former governor George Ryan says they’re stunned by what they call a “cold, heartless decision.” CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

CBS 2 first spoke with several of his children just before the ruling. They said they were on pins and needles waiting for the decision. They are a family already suffering greatly through their mother’s terminal illness.

The emotional rollercoaster continued when just after receiving the devastating news, Lura Lynn Ryan was taken to the hospital by two of her daughters for her first cancer radiation treatment.

The ruling that George Ryan was to stay in prison was obviously not what they hoped for, and the family is taking it hard.

The emotional toll was clear as the son of George and Lura Lynn, George Homer Ryan Jr., supported by his wife and nephew, struggled to speak.

“It’s been a long road,” said Ryan Jr. “We are tremendously saddened by Judge Pallmeyer’s cold, heartless decision just seven days after my mom has been told she’s dying, and given three to six months to live. We feel it is heartless and cruel.”

Mrs. Ryan has been battling a deadly lung condition that escalated into cancer in recent weeks. She struggled to appear in court to appeal for the early release of her husband of 55 years.

Her family says she is in great pain, both from the heartache of the decision and the onset of cancer.

“It’s a terrible thing for all people to go through,” said Ryan Jr. “Ours happens to be more public.”

Former governor George Ryan has served over three years of a 6 ½-year sentence. His children spoke with him after the decision, a man devastated over not being able to stand by his wife’s side as her life comes to an end.

“Put yourselves in our shoes and you’ll know the feeling we have and he has. That’s all I can say,” said Ryan Jr. “He’s devastated as well, and he’s just worried sick about my mother.”

The family also made a final appeal Tuesday before the cameras: give us help getting him home.

One of their attorneys on the front steps today says they plan to appeal. She too choked back tears when speaking of Mrs. Ryan’s health, saying, “I hope there’s time.”

Watch & Listen LIVE