Sen. Inouye Dead at 88

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 17 2012 5:58 PM

Sen. Daniel Inouye Dead at 88

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Sen. Daniel Inouye died Monday at the age of 88

Photo courtesy of the Sen. Inouye's office.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, the second-longest serving senator in American history, died Monday evening at the age of 88 of "respiratory complications," according to his staff.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Hawaii Democrat had been hospitalized since early this month due to respiratory problems. At the time of his death he was the longest serving lawmaker in the Senate and the upper chamber's president pro tempore, making him third in the line of presidential succession.

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According to a statement released by his staff this evening, his last words were "Aloha." More from his office:

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.
Senator Inouye began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He served with 'E' company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, a group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Senator Inouye lost his arm charging a series of machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy on April 21, 1945. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.
Following the war he returned to Hawaii and married Margaret "Maggie" Awamura, and graduated from the University of Hawaii and the George Washington University School of Law. After receiving his law degree, Dan Inouye, returned to Hawaii and worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. He recognized the social and racial inequities of post-war Hawaii, and in 1954 was part of a Democratic revolution that took control of the Territorial Legislature.
Following statehood in 1959, Dan Inouye was privileged to serve as Hawaii's first Congressman. He ran for the Senate in 1962 where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie will be tasked with picking Inouye's replacement from among three candidates provided by the state's Democratic party, according to the Washington Post. (State law mandates that a senator must be replaced by someone from within the same political party.)

This post was updated with more information at 6:25 p.m.

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