heath-rollieState Senator Rollie Heath, who in 2002 was the Democratic Party’s candidate for governor, was in the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver yesterday so that surgeons could remove a half-inch cancerous tumor from his esophagus.

The surgery went “really, really well,” the 71-year-old Boulder lawmaker said afterward, predicting he could return to work by the end of this week.

“The prognosis is great, and the doctor feels like he got it all,” he added before his family, including his wife, Josie, wheeled him out of the hospital (via The Associated Press).

Heath was identified as one of four freshmen legislators to watch by 5280.com earlier this year. He is serving as chairman of the 16-person, bipartisan Long-Term Fiscal Stability Commission, established to help navigate Colorado through the recession.