Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., died Thursday at the age of 92, the office of U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell said in a statement. John Dingell, who was elected to the House in 1955 when he was 29, was the longest-serving member of Congress in history.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of John David Dingell, Jr., former Michigan Congressman and longest-serving member of the United States Congress. Congressman Dingell died peacefully today at his home in Dearborn, surrounded by his wife Deborah,” the statement said. “He was a lion of the United States Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather and friend. He will be remembered for his decades of public service to the people of Southeast Michigan, his razor sharp wit and a lifetime of dedication to improving the lives of all who walk this earth.”
John Dingell recently entered hospice care following a cancer diagnosis. On Wednesday he tweeted that while he was too ill to post on social media, Debbie Dingell would continue to share messages on his behalf.
“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,” John Dingell tweeted. “I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You're not done with me just yet.”
John Dingell retired from Congress in 2014. Debbie Dingell, who is his wife, won a campaign to occupy the seat he vacated.
Debbie Dingell missed President Donald Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday, tweeting the following day John Dingell’s condition required her to stay home.
“Friends and colleagues know me and know I would be in Washington right now unless something was up,” Debbie Dingell wrote. “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.”
Debbie Dingell continued, “I will be taking each day as it comes. We thank people for their friendship and support and ask for prayers and privacy during this difficult time.”
In September, John Dingell was hospitalized for more than a week following a mild heart attack. After being admitted, he tweeted that “Rumors of my demise may have only been slightly exaggerated.” After his retirement, John Dingell’s social media accounts brought him continued fame. In 2014, The Atlantic declared his Twitter account the best of any member of Congress.
On Thursday, President Mark Schlissel issued a statement on John Dingell’s passing, praising his legacy and offering condolences.
“John Dingell’s resolute devotion to the people of Michigan and our nation set a high standard to which we should all aspire in public service,” Schlissel said. “He fought for legislation and led change that made our state and nation better for all Americans – including civil rights, access to quality medical care, and clean air and water. I will always admire and remember his decades of thoughtful, optimistic leadership, grounded in a belief that healthy communities, economic prosperity, and environmental stewardship are all values that we could relentlessly pursue for the betterment of our society. I considered John a historically significant public servant and man of great gravitas.”