01/26/2016 05:55 EST | Updated 01/27/2016 11:59 EST

Terry Fox's Father, Rolly Fox, Diagnosed With Cancer At 80

Rolly Fox will be 81 in March.

The Terry Fox Foundation

Terry Fox's father has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Rolland "Rolly" Fox, who turns 81 in March, was "initially troubled by the news" but has stayed in "very good spirits," the family said on their website Tuesday.

He started smoking when he was 19, but quit after his brother dared him to in 1986. This May will mark 30 years since he kicked the habit, the family wrote.

Terry Fox died in New Westminster, B.C. in 1981 after raising money for cancer research in his cross-Canada Marathon of Hope.

Terry Fox during the Marathon of Hope. (Photo: The Associated Press via CP)

He had been diagnosed with bone cancer at 18 and had his right leg amputated 15 centimetres above the knee in 1977.

After 143 days of the marathon, Fox was told the cancer had come back — this time to his lungs — and he was forced to end his run outside of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Betty Fox died in 2011 after a serious illness.

Betty and Rolly Fox on Parliament Hill on Oct. 19, 2010. Betty died in 2011. (Photo: Fred Chartrand/CP)

After her death, Rolly grew even more active in continuing Terry Fox Runs across Canada every year. He personally signed over 14,000 thank-you letters in the process.

The family said they won't be making further comment at this time.

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