Ariz. Rep. Ron Barber recovering after cancer surgery

Rep. Ron Barber, former aide to ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is recovering following the removal of a cancerous tumor from his tongue.

PHOENIX - Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, a former aide to ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was wounded alongside her in a deadly 2011 shooting, said on Tuesday he is recovering after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his tongue.

Barber, 67, beat Republican rival Martha McSally by a slender margin in the Nov. 6 election to represent southeast Arizona in the state's redrawn 2nd Congressional District.

Barber's office said he learned of the tumor on Nov. 13. He underwent surgery on Monday to remove the growth, and is expected to return to work in Washington next week.

"Congressman Barber was released from the hospital earlier today after a successful surgery," Barber's doctor, Audrey Erman, said in a statement released by the congressman's office. "He is expected to make a full recovery."

Barber was shot in the face and thigh on Jan. 8, 2011, when Jared Loughner opened fire at an event outside a Tucson supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents.

Six people were killed in the shooting spree and 13 were wounded, including Giffords, who was shot through the head. She stepped down in January to focus on her recovery. Loughner was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month.