Gary Carter, the popular former Mets catcher and a member of the Hall of Fame, has learned that a tumor on his brain very likely is malignant. Carter's doctors announced the news Friday in a statement released by the Mets.

"Following a thorough examination and assessment of Gary Carter, biopsies were performed this morning from a tumor located in Mr. Carter's brain," said Dr. Allan H. Friedman and Dr. Henry S. Friedman, co-deputy directors of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University.

"The preliminary results are that his tumor appears to be malignant. Once the pathology report is available, which will take several days, we will discuss treatment options with Mr. Carter and his family. In the meantime, Mr. Carter is in excellent spirits and good physical condition. He is resting comfortably, surrounded by his family. We hope that his friends and fans will continue to pray for Mr. Carter during this time."

Carter released a statement through the Mets and the Hall of Fame May 21, saying he had four small tumors in his brain that were to be examined.

Keith Hernandez, Carter's Mets teammate and a broadcaster on SNY, told Newsday, "I was hoping it was going to be benign. It's my worst fears. What can you say? My prayers go out to him."

Mets first-base coach Mookie Wilson, another Mets teammate of Carter's, said he has been in communication with Carter through a mutual friend. Wilson said: "We know that he's a competitor. I think that gives him an edge. I think the doctors are going to detail what kind of treatment. Knowing him, he's going to go in intent on beating it.''

Carter, 57, played for the Mets from 1985-89. He spent the bulk of his career, 1974-84 and 1992, with the Expos.

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His role as cleanup hitter on the 1986 world championship team made him a beloved figure among Mets fans. He aspired to manage the Mets and worked as a minor-league manager in the organization in 2005 and 2006, only to stop when a promotion to Double-A Binghamton would've meant more time away from his family in Florida.

He managed the independent Orange County Flyers in 2008 and Long Island Ducks in 2009 and coached Palm Beach Atlantic University's program this season.

Nicknamed "Kid," Carter carried a reputation as one of the more straight-laced members of the wild 1986 Mets club. During his playing career and his retirement, he has avoided the negative headlines produced by former teammates such as Wally Backman, Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.