ST. PAUL (AP) -- Longtime state Sen. David Tomassoni has informed his constituents that he has Lou Gehring's disease, also known as ALS.

The motor neuron disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that destroys the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement.

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The 68-year-old senator from Chisholm says he was diagnosed a while ago, and felt the effects of the disease through this year's legislative session.

Tomassoni was first elected to the state House in 1992. He was elected to the Senate in 2000. The longtime Democrat is now serving as an independent.

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