Sad news. Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, who had been hospitalized since early December due to respiratory problems, has died at age 88: Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye dies at age 88.
Inouye served in the Senate since 1962 and represented Hawaii since 1954. He was a pioneer, and as the Senate pro tempore and chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, one of the most influential and powerful Asian Americans ever to serve in U.S. politics.
His final word, according to his staff, was "Aloha." From the official Statement on the Passing of Senator Daniel K. Inouye:
United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye, World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and Hawaii's senior Senator, passed away from respiratory complications at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.When asked in recent days how he wanted to be remembered, Senator Inouye said, "I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK." Read the rest of the statement here.
His wife Irene and his son Ken were at his side. Last rites were performed by Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black.
He is survived by his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, his son Daniel Ken Inouye Jr., Ken's wife Jessica, and granddaughter Maggie and step-daughter Jennifer Hirano. He was preceded in death his first wife, Maggie Awamura.
Senator Inouye's family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the extraordinary care he received.
The story of Dan Inouye is the story of modern Hawaii. During his eight decades of public service, Dan Inouye helped build and shape Hawaii.
UPDATE: Here's the statement by the President on the passing of Senator Inouye:
Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.Here's the statement by Vice President Biden:
As my mother would say, the greatest virtue of all is courage, and Danny was courage personified. From the battlefields of World War II where he received the Medal of Honor, to the floor of the United States Senate where he displayed incredible moral bravery, he was always the same – courageous and resolute. He was one of the most honorable men I ever met in my life, and one of the best friends you could hope for. He was honest, and fiercely loyal, and I trusted him absolutely.And here's the statement from Rep. Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, on Senator Inouye's passing:
Everyone in the Senate not only admired Danny Inouye, but they trusted him. We all knew he would do the moral thing regardless of the consequences – whether it was passing judgment on a President during Watergate or on another President in the Iran Contra hearings. And Danny always remembered where he came from – and how hard his family had to struggle. From having to fight for the right to fight for his country in the all Japanese-American 442nd, to his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, he always spoke of the country’s struggles with racism and bias, and his call for a “new era of politics.” And to his dying day, he fought for a new era of politics where all men and women are treated with equality.
Above all, Danny was my friend, and Jill and I are praying for his entire family today.
Today, our nation lost a great American. Senator Daniel K. Inouye was a decorated World War II hero, an inspirational leader and the highest ranking Asian American in the history of the United States. As President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, he faithfully served the people of Hawaii and the nation at large for nearly half a century. His passing has left a void that cannot be filled. My sincerest condolences go out to his family, loved ones, and the people of Hawaii for their tremendous loss.Rest in peace.