Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye dies at age 88 after 50 years in Senate


Sen. Daniel Inouye died of respiratory complications on December 17, 2012. The Democrat from Hawaii was the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee .


Chip Somodevilla

Daniel Inouye, the United States' most senior senator, died at 88 Monday after 50 years in Senate, the Washington Post reported.

The Senator's last word, according to his staff, was: "Aloha."

Only hours earlier, Inouye was reported to be in stable condition at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to the Associated Press. The Hawaii Democrat had been suffering from respiratory problems that ultimately caused his death. 

Inouye, the country's longest-serving senator, was a decorated veteran of World War II who had received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award. He served as the Senate's president pro-tempore — making him third in line to the presidency — and as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In a statement released by the White House, President Barack Obama said the country had lost "a true American hero."

"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," the statement read.

Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell remember Inouye in the video below: