Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye died on Monday at the age of 88 in Washington D.C. at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Inouye, the most senior member of the Senate, has been fighting a respiratory illness for some time and was hospitalized since early December.
A statement was released on Monday evening about Inouye’s death, reading in part:
“…Hawaii’s senior Senator passed away from respiratory complications at 5:01 pm Eastern Standard Time today at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.”
According to the statement, Daniel Inouye’s wife, Irene, and his son Ken were at his side, while Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black performed last rites. The statement added:
“Senator Inouye’s family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the extraordinary care he received.”
USA Today notes that Daniel Inouye was a World War II veteran and a Medal of Honor recipient. He was first elected to the Senate in 1962 and his tenure is second only to Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia. He serves as president pro tempore, meaning that he was third in the line of presidential succession. The statement released by Daniel Inouye’s family after his death adds:
“Dan Inouye spent his career building an enduring federal presence in Hawaii to ensure that the state would receive its fair share of federal resources … He fought for the rights and benefits for veterans … When asked in recent days how he wanted to be remembered, Dan said, very simply, ‘I represent the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK.’ “
Several people took to Twitter on hearing the news of Inouye’s death, saying:
Generally not much for politicians but RIP to Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye. A hero to a country that at first didn’t trust he could be one
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) December 17, 2012
Daniel Inouye just died. He was tougher than you are: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_In…
— edsbs (@edsbs) December 17, 2012
Senator @daniel_inouye was a true American hero. From his service in WWII to the United States Senate. He will be missed.
— Eric Cantor (@EricCantor) December 17, 2012
Senator Daniel Inouye was a war hero, a statesman and a perfect model of politician. A big loss for our country today.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) December 17, 2012
According to the statement, Daniel Inouye’s last words before his death were, “Aloha.” Our condolences go out to Inouye’s wife, son, daughter-in-law, step-daughter, and granddaughter.