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DLA Piper has announced that George Mitchell, chairman of the firm's global board, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
New York-based Mitchell, who spent 14 years in the US Senate between 1980 and 1995, joined DLA Piper in 2003 having spent the interim period at US firm Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand.
Mitchell's doctor Dr Harvey Klein said it is likely his patient will make a good recovery from his illness. "The cancer is small, low grade and localised, and can be effectively treated and cured. The prognosis is very good," he added.
Last year Mitchell, who is also co-chair of DLA Piper's government controversies practice group, was commissioned by the US's Major League Baseball commissioner Allan Selig to lead an independent investigation into the past use of performance-enhancing drugs in the game.
According to Mitchell his diagnosis and treatment will have no effect on the investigation. "The investigation, which is in its final phases, will be completed in the coming months and neither the substance nor the timing of the report will be affected in any way," he said.
Among his past achievements, Mitchell chaired the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland, having been asked to do so by the UK and Irish governments in 1996. He led the negotiations for two years with the peace accord being endorsed by voters in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in May 1998.