Tags: mark takai | congressman | hawaii | dies | cancer

Mark Takai, Veteran Congressman From Hawaii, Dies of Cancer at 49

Image: Mark Takai, Veteran Congressman From Hawaii, Dies of Cancer at 49
 (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Jul 2016 12:51 PM

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai died Wednesday at his home in Honolulu, nine months after doctors diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that Takai, 49, a Democrat, had served 20 years in the Hawaii state legislature before winning a seat in Congress in 2014, taking over for former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who ran unsuccessfully for Senate.

"The Takai family thanks the people of Hawaii for their support during this difficult time," said a statement from Takai's office. "The Takai family politely asks for the continued respect of their family's privacy."

Takai, who was born in Oahu, served in the Hawaii National Guard for 17 years and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel along with serving as a preventive medical officer, according to his biography. He was deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.

"Mark was always a fighter," President Barack Obama said in a White House statement. "It's the spirit he brought to more than two decades of public service on behalf of the people of Hawaii. He stood up for America's most vulnerable. He championed our troops and veterans, and proudly wore our nation's uniform."

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a statement that Takai "humbly and effectively" served in Congress and during his two decades in the statehouse.

"In the often tumultuous world of politics, he has been a shining example of what it means to be a public servant," Ige said in his statement. "While we will deeply feel the loss of Mark Takai in the public arena, we cannot forget that he was a family man first. His wife, children and extended family will miss him every moment from this day on."

House Speaker Paul Ryan called Takai "an exemplary soldier" and a "beloved member of the House of Representatives," in his statement.

"I am stunned and saddened to hear about the passing of our colleague, Mark Takai," Ryan said in the statement. "His love for Hawaii and the people he represented was evident every day. My prayers are with his wife, Sami, and his children, Matthew and Kaila."

Takai had announced in February that he planned to run for re-election after having learned the previous November of his cancer diagnosis. He said he was undergoing chemotherapy. On May 19, he announced that he could not continue his run for re-election after learning that his cancer had spread.

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U.S. Rep. Mark Takai died Wednesday at his home in Honolulu, nine months after doctors diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer.
mark takai, congressman, hawaii, dies, cancer
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2016-51-21
Thursday, 21 Jul 2016 12:51 PM
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