Bill Janklow's family says the former South Dakota Governor and Congressman has been moved to hospice care as he fights inoperable brain cancer.
Current Governor Dennis Daugaard made the announcement about Janklow's condition right before his State of the State address. It was a somber start to the speech and the news hit those who knew and worked with Janklow hard.
Friends and former colleagues say they were surprised by the announcement that Janklow is in hospice care. That's because even as recently as this past Friday, they say he sounded like he was still doing well.
Daugaard started his State of the State address by talking about the status of a former governor who many say did so much for the state during his time in the Capitol.
"Well, it spoiled my day. I just talked to him Friday. He was sort of upbeat," Representative Gene Abdallah said.
Abdallah was the superintendent of the Highway Patrol when Janklow was governor. He was also close friends with Janklow. The former governor called Abdallah Friday night and wanted to go out to dinner.
"I'm surprised that the change happened so quick. That he ended up in a hospice because based on our conversation Friday, I would have never thought that would happen that fast," Abdallah said.
Other lawmakers were also surprised by the announcement, including House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff, who ran against Janklow for governor. Hunhoff says Janklow dedicated himself to South Dakota.
"Very sad development I think for all South Dakotans. The governor, whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him all through the years, he gave his life to public service and had a profound impact on South Dakota," Hunhoff said.
And despite the news, Abdallah says Janklow will continue to fight.
"I haven't lost him yet. I don't want to talk in the past. We'll wait and see. He's a fighter. I don't think you have to tell anybody that. We'll see," Abdallah said.
Janklow had just finished up his experimental treatment at the Mayo Clinic on Friday.
KELOLAND News had the chance to speak with Janklow on the phone over the past few weeks. He said several times that he knew he wasn't getting treatment for himself, but was hoping the treatment he was undergoing may help doctors help others in his position in the future.