Rep. Mark Takai (D-Hawaii) died Wednesday after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer, his office announced.
Takai, 49, was elected to represent Hawaii’s Oahu-based first congressional district in 2014.
In late October, he announced he had been diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas after experiencing stomach pains. At that time, Takai referred to his prognosis as “very good thanks to early detection.” He underwent surgery to remove the tumor in November.
On May 20, he announced he would serve out the rest of his term but not seek reelection because the cancer had spread.
Prior to his election, Takai served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1994 to 2014, including two years as vice speaker. He leaves behind his wife, Sami, and two children.
“The Takai family thanks the people of Hawaii for their support during this difficult time … [and] politely asks for the continued respect of their family’s privacy,” his office said in a statement Wednesday.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) in a statement praised Takai, who served in the Army National Guard, as “an exemplary soldier, public servant, and beloved member of the House of Representatives. His love for Hawaii and the people he represented was evident every day.”
Colleagues, including Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), honored Takai on social media: