ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Young has died, one week after announcing he would not seek a 23rd term. He was 82.
Young's chief of staff, Harry Glenn, said he died Friday at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He had been there for nearly two weeks with back problems that stemmed from a 1970 small plane crash. On Oct. 9, from his hospital bed, Young announced that he would not seek another term in 2014.
Young was Florida's longest-serving member of Congress and a defense hawk who was influential on military spending during his 43 years in Washington.
As one of the strongest defense supporters in Congress, Young made headlines in 2012 when he said the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
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Statement from Florida Republican Party Chair
"I, and the Republican Party of Florida, mourn the death of Congressman Bill Young. Over five decades of public service, Bill Young has been a constant champion for his constituents and for the state of Florida. He has always stood up for the Sunshine State and fought for the best interests of its citizens. His dedication, his leadership, and his friendship will be sorely missed. His wife Beverly and their three children, Billy, Patrick and Robbie, are in our thoughts and prayers today."
- Chairman Lenny Curry, Republican Party of Florida
Statement from Senator Marco Rubio
“Floridians have lost one of the greatest public servants we’ve ever had in our state’s history. For over a half century, Bill fought tirelessly for the Tampa Bay region and to strengthen Florida’s role as a critical part of our national defense. Largely because of Bill Young, many of our nation’s brave men and women in uniform have called Florida home at some point in their careers, with many of them spending their golden retirement years here. Throughout Bill’s career, our military and veterans have had no greater champion than him. My thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s wife, Beverly, and their entire family.”
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R) Florida
Statement from Senator Bill Nelson
“Bill Young was one of the exemplary figures in Congress who achieved legislative consensus in a bipartisan way,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. “He put the good of the country and his constituents above partisan politics and he is going to be very much missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D) Florida
Statement from Congressman Ander Crenshaw
"It was an honor to know and work with Chairman Young. He was dedicated to our men and women in uniform, fought hard for their needs, and the needs of all Americans. I join a long list of colleagues who will miss his leadership and friendship. His family and loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers."
- Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R) Florida