Former US representative John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, has died at the age of 92.
The Michigan Democrat, who served in the US House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died on Thursday at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.
“He was a lion of the United States Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather and friend,” her office said in a statement.
“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.”
Dubbed “Big John” for his imposing 6ft 3in frame and sometimes intimidating manner, Mr Dingell served with every president from Dwight D Eisenhower to Barack Obama.
He was a longtime supporter of universal health care, a cause he adopted from his late father, whom he replaced in Congress in 1955.
He also was known as a dogged pursuer of government waste and fraud, and even helped take down two top presidential aides while leading the investigative arm of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chaired for 14 years.
One of his proudest moments came in 2010, when he sat next to Mr Obama as the 938 billion dollar health care overhaul was signed into law.
“Presidents come and presidents go,” former president Bill Clinton said in 2005, when Mr Dingell celebrated 50 years in Congress. “John Dingell goes on forever.”
Tributes poured in from both Democrats and Republicans.
“Today the great State of Michigan said farewell to one of our greatest leaders,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“John Dingell will forever be remembered as ‘The Dean’ of Congress not simply for the length of his service, but for his unparalleled record of legislative accomplishments.”
Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 8 1926, John David Dingell Jr grew up in Michigan, where his father was elected to Congress as a “New Deal” Democrat in 1932.
Following the sudden death of his father in September 1955, Mr Dingell — then a 29-year-old lawyer — won a special election to succeed him.
He won more than two dozen elections during his career, at first representing a Detroit district but eventually shifting because of redistricting to various southeastern Michigan communities.
He became the longest-serving member of Congress on June 7 2013, when he surpassed the former record holder, the late Robert Byrd.
“The length of time is really quite unimportant,” Mr Dingell told the Associated Press in an interview in 2009. “It’s what I have done with that time.”
He announced in early 2014, at the age of 87, that he would not run for a 30th full term because he could not have lived up to his own standards.
Continuing the family tradition, his wife, Debbie, successfully ran for her husband’s seat in 2014.
President Donald Trump has extended his sympathies to Mr Dingell’s family.
The president said on Twitter Mr Dingell was “highly respected” and had a “great reputation”.
Mr Trump also wrote in reference to Mr Dingell being the longest-serving member of Congress in US history that “if people understand politics, means he was very smart”.