Education Minister Pierre Moreau will be reducing his duties immediately due to an abnormal tissue growth.

Doctors informed Moreau Monday that tests showed he had signs and symptoms pointing to a tumour “whose nature is unclear.”

Biopsies are underway which will confirm any diagnosis.

During this time, his doctor has recommended he substantially reduce his workload in the coming months. Minister Moreau intends to start treatment right away.

Calling it "sad news," Premier Philippe Couillard addressed Moreau's health as he announced an emergency cabinet shuffle Monday afternoon.

Couillard referred to Moreau as strong, brilliant and engaged, and said he will likely be on leave for a prolonged period.

"We are all under shock. Such a strong man. We know that life is, unfortunately, full of these types of surprises. We all know this in our families around us," said Couillard. "Everyone here including the media, I hope, and people in politics from both sides, or three sides or four sides of the Assembly are all under shock because they all appreciate Mr. Moreau and feel sorry for him – but they also know him and know that he will fight and prevail."

The education minister will now move to junior finance minister, and the education portfolio will be split between two cabinet ministers. Families Minister Sebastien Proulx will now move into the position as education minister, while Helene David will move to minister of higher education.

Luc Fortin will now serve as minister of culture and communications.

Lucie Charlebois will take on Moreau's role as minister in charge of the Monteregie region, as well as maintain her dossiers of public health and youth protection.

Moreau was on forced medical leave earlier this month after he had a health emergency on the day he was to be sworn in as education minister as part of a cabinet shuffle.

He returned just last week to a standing ovation from his colleagues welcoming him back after three weeks away.

Hearings on Bill 86 are underway, and Couillard said Monday that though there may be some brief delays, they will proceed.

Monday's shuffle marks the fourth education minister to take on the role since the Liberals came to power in 2014.