Congressman dies after cancer battle

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 17:31:16-04
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 14: Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, attends a meeting of the House Armed Services Committee in Rayburn, January 14, 2015.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mark Takai of Hawaii has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, his office announced Wednesday. He was 49.

“The Takai family thanks the people of Hawaii for their support during this difficult time,” said an official statement issued by the congressman’s office, which noted Takai was surrounded by his family.

Takai, a Democrat, made his cancer publicly known last year after a tumor was found in his pancreas.

“A few days ago, my doctors conducted diagnostic tests in response to certain stomach pains and discomfort that I have been experiencing for several weeks,” Takai said in a statement in October. “The tests show that I have a small tumor in the pancreas and I will shortly begin treatment.”

Takai was elected to Congress in 2014 after spending 20 years as a state lawmaker.

Colleagues on Capitol Hill were quick to respond with condolences on Twitter.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear about my colleague Mark Takai’s passing from cancer. The Democratic family’s thoughts are with the Takais today.”

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison tweeted: “Saddened to hear about the death of @RepMarkTakai. A great public servant, and an even better father. I’m thinking about his family.”

California Rep. Loretta Sanchez tweeted: “Heartbroken by the passing of my dear colleague @RepMarkTakai after his battle with pancreatic cancer. My deepest condolences to his family.”