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Daley Cancels Travel Plans To Be With Ailing Wife

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Mayor Richard M. Daley celebrates with his wife Maggie after winning a record sixth term as mayor of Chicago at the Chicago Hilton February 27, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Daley will surpasses his father's record of being Chicago's longest-serving mayor after he serves his full term. His father, Richard J. Daley died in office after serving 21 years as mayor.  (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Mayor Richard M. Daley celebrates with his wife Maggie after winning a record sixth term as mayor of Chicago at the Chicago Hilton February 27, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Daley will surpasses his father’s record of being Chicago’s longest-serving mayor after he serves his full term. His father, Richard J. Daley died in office after serving 21 years as mayor. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Updated 11/23/11 – 4:11 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Retired Mayor Richard M. Daley has canceled his travel schedule and speaking engagements to be with his ailing wife.

The former mayor’s press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Daley canceled a weeklong engagement as a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He has also canceled the rest of his travel schedule, and speaking engagements for the rest of the year, Heard said.

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Daley’s wife, Maggie Daley, has been battling metastatic breast cancer since 2002. The retired mayor said recently that his wife had a difficult summer.

There was suspicion that things weren’t going well for Mrs. Daley when the Daleys’ daughter, Elizabeth “Lally” Daley moved up her wedding plans from New Year’s Eve to her birthday last Thursday, due to concerns about her mother’s health. Lally married her fiancé Sam Hotchkiss last week so that her mother could attend and fully enjoy the wedding.

Mr. and Mrs. Daley both walked Lally down the aisle, as she wore her mother’s wedding dress.

Although The Daley family said the wedding date was changed because they wanted celebrate at a time Maggie was well enough to enjoy it, a source close to the family said Wednesday that Mr. Daley’s decision to cancel his travel plans is “indicative of Maggie’s condition.”

The former first lady had seemed to bounce back from a hospital stay earlier this year – just as she’d done after previous hospital stays over the past decade – attending and speaking at one of the events during her husband’s farewell tour in May.

“I feel good. I feel good,” Maggie said in May. “I have a lot of challenges, but anybody who had cancer, has the same experiences. So, we’re a mighty group.

Last week, Mrs. Daley’s physician, Dr. Steven Rosen of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said there was no dramatic change in her condition, but he would not comment beyond that.

But sources said Wednesday that Maggie is now “resting at home,” and that she is “expected to remain there,” while she is visited by her doctors, thankful this Thanksgiving that she was able to enjoy Lally’s wedding last week.

Maggie remained at least somewhat active over the past year, appearing with her husband, as well as new Mayor Rahm Emanuel, showing her husband’s successor one of her beloved After School Matters programs this spring.

The last time Maggie was seen in public was just over two months ago, when she appeared onstage during an After School Matters gala.

Maggie Daley was, and is, a powerful symbol for those battling cancer and, through it all, has also remained devoted to the young people of Chicago.

The countless lives she’s touched in those dual roles are measures of the impact she’s had on the city and why she’s being remembered on Wednesday in many peoples’ prayers.

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