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Mark Takai (1967 - 2016)

AP Photo / Eugene Tanner

Mark Takai (1967 - 2016)

Mark Takai, a U.S. congressman representing Hawaii's 1st District, died July 20, 2016, of pancreatic cancer, according to multiple news sources. He was 49.

Takai served as the representative for Hawaii's 1st District since being elected in 2014. In May, he announced he would not seek re-election so he could focus on fighting his disease. He was planning on completing the rest of his term, which would have ended in 2017.

His office confirmed his death in a statement:

"Today, Congressman Mark Takai passed away at home, surrounded by family. Takai represented Hawaii's 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th Congress and spent 20 years serving in the Hawaii State House of Representatives. In Congress, Takai served as the Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business's Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce in addition to being a member of the House Committee on Armed Services."

The Takai family thanks the people of Hawaii for their support during this difficult time. Information regarding a service will be available at a later time. The Takai family politely asks for the continued respect of their family's privacy."

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called Takai a "dedicated champion for hard-working families," and shared her grief over his death.

"In his service to America and the people of Hawaii, Congressman Takai embodied our nation's highest ideals. In his fight against cancer, Mark showed the courage and strength that defined the wonderful person he was," Pelosi said in a statement.

Takai was born on Oahu and served in the state House of Representatives for 20 years before he was elected to Congress. He was a veteran who was a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard for more than a decade. He took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. In Congress, he sat on the Armed Services Committee.

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