NEW YORK – Dana Reeve (search), a single mom who spent nine years caring for her paralyzed husband, "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve (search) until his death last year, announced Tuesday that she has lung cancer.
Reeve, 44, said she decided to disclose her illness following rumors about her health in the media.
"I have recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and am currently undergoing treatment," Reeve said in a statement. "I have an excellent team of physicians, and we are optimistic about my prognosis."
Christopher Reeve died Oct. 10, 2004. The onetime Hollywood "Superman" became an activist for spinal cord research after a horse-riding accident left him a quadriplegic.
His son with Dana Reeve, Will, is 13 years old.
One of the first reporters to break the Reeve story, Claire Newbon of the National Enquirer, told FOX on Tuesday that it appears that Dana Reeve never smoked.
"The National Enquirer has spoken to several sources very close to Dana Reeve and they say indeed, she wasn't a smoker," Newbon said.
Reeve, who also lost her mother this year to ovarian cancer, said in a statement that her husband is with her in spirit in this latest ordeal.
"Now, more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge," Reeve said. "As always, I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope."
Dana Reeve, also an actress, was a constant companion and supporter of her husband during his long struggle and his work for a cure for spinal cord injuries.
She is chairwoman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (search), which funds research on paralysis and works to improve the life of the disabled. To date, it has awarded $55 million in research grants and $7.5 million in quality of life grants.
She was performing in the Broadway-bound play "Brooklyn Boy" in California when she had to streak home to reach her husband's bedside before he died. She gave up the role for the New York run.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.