CHICAGO (STMW) – After a tonsillectomy, Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) has been diagnosed with cancer, forcing him to abandon his plan to run for mayor, his top aides told associates on Monday, the Sun-Times is reporting.

Fioretti has scheduled a news conference Tuesday to announce the surprise diagnosis that will force him to begin a two-month treatment plan that will make it impossible for him to run for mayor.

Instead, Fioretti plans to seek re-election as alderman.

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The 57-year-old alderman could not be reached for comment on Monday. His chief of staff refused to confirm the cancer diagnosis.

Last month, Fioretti postponed his formal entry into the mayor’s race because his doctors had advised him to have an emergency tonsillectomy.

He described the procedure as routine and said he planned to be out of action for only five days after downing large quantities of chicken soup.

“It’s just an inflammation of one tonsil and they said, ‘We had better take it out now—especially as we’re gonna be campaigning and going out, door-to-door throughout the city’ …Both of my doctors said, ‘Take it out now when you have a chance and before it gets too late in the campaign,’ ” Fioretti said at the time.

On Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a “health concern” had forced Fioretti to reconsider his mayoral ambitions.

Until the cancer diagnosis, Fioretti was planning to run for mayor on a platform of hiring 1,000 police officers to ease a severe manpower shortage.

During a speech to the City Club, Fioretti also proposed that McCormick Place East be converted into a giant, but temporary casino and that Chicago begin the search for a permanent gambling site.

Fioretti argued that a temporary casino in the under-utilized building known as Lakeside Center could be up and running “within 90-days-to-six months” if the General Assembly goes along.

“All it will require are the cameras and working with the Gaming Board,” he said.

In the City Club speech, Fioretti demanded that Daley begin the search for Chicago’s next police superintendent immediately instead of waiting until March 1, when the $310,000-a-year contract of embattled Superintendent Jody Weis expires.

“We need somebody to bring up the morale of this department that is so low right now — that is at the lowest level it’s ever probably been,” the alderman said, reiterating his demand for the hiring of 1,000 more police officers. without saying how he planned to pay for it.

Fioretti also outlined in broad strokes how he would rein in city spending and erase a record, $654.7 million shortfall that, he expects, will only get worse in 2012.

He talked about: using tax credits to lure manufacturing jobs to Chicago; eliminating unnecessary government agencies and using a grid system to collect garbage, instead of assigning crews on a costly, ward-by-ward basis.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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