Feb. 7 (UPI) — John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, died Thursday at the age of 92.
The Detroit Democrat was diagnosed a year ago with prostate cancer that had metastasized and he decided to forgo treatment.
Dingell first entered Congress in 1955, succeeding his father who had died earlier that year. He went on to serve as Congressman of the 12th District for 59 years, until his retirement in 2014.
Debbie Dingell, his wife, has held the position since then.
For his service, Dingell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s greatest civilian award, by President Barack Obama on Nov. 24, 2014.
In the announcement that Dingell would receive the honor, the White House called him “one of the most influential legislators in history,” The Detroit News reported.
Dingell is credited with having increased access to health care and having helped to write the majority of America’s major environmental and energy laws.
News of the statesman’s deteriorating health was announced Tuesday by his wife on Twitter who said he had entered hospice care.
“Friends and colleagues know me and know I would be in Washington right now unless something was up,” she said. “I am home with John and we have entered a new phase. He is my love and we have been a team for nearly 40 years.”
John found fame in his retirement on Twitter for his humorous comments and poignant thoughts.
“The Lovely Deborah is insisting I rest and stay off here, but after long negotiations we’ve worked out a deal where she’ll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages,” he wrote Tuesday in what would be his final tweet. “I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet.”