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GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota dies at 59 after battle with kidney cancer

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) died Thursday night after a battle with kidney cancer, his wife announced in a Facebook post Friday. He was 59.

“It is with a broken heart, shattered spirit and overwhelming sadness I share my husband Congressman Jim Hagedorn passed away peacefully last night,” wrote Jennifer Carnahan, a former chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party.

“Jim loved our country and loved representing the people of southern Minnesota,” she said. “Every moment of every day he lived his dream by serving others. There was no stronger conservative in our state than my husband; and it showed in how he voted, led and fought for our country.”

Hagedorn, who was elected to the House in 2018, was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer in 2019 and began receiving care at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., according to KSTP, a St. Paul, Minn., television station.

Hagedorn announced that he had a kidney removed along with cancerous tissue surrounding the kidney, the station reported. In July, he announced a reoccurrence of his kidney cancer.

On Jan. 4, Hagedorn announced that he had contracted covid-19 despite being vaccinated but was experiencing only mild symptoms.

“Given my current circumstances and treatment for kidney cancer, doctors are taking every precaution to ensure a complete recovery and have requested that I receive observation and treatment at the Mayo Clinic,” Hagedorn said then.

He did not return to Capitol Hill after his announcement. Carnahan did not specify a cause of death in her Facebook posting.

Hagedorn’s father, Tom Hagedorn, also served in Congress, representing a Minnesota district from 1975 to 1983.

The younger Hagedorn served on the Agriculture and Small Business committees.

After getting the news of Hagedorn’s death, lawmakers from both parties offered condolences.

Hagedorn “bravely endured the personal challenge of cancer treatment with dignity and grace while serving our country and his constituents,” Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said in a statement. “Despite our policy differences on many issues, Jim and I were united in the common goal of achieving greater opportunities for future generations of Minnesotans.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) described Hagedorn as “a fighter for his constituents and a friend to so many, including me.”

“Through his battle against cancer, he showed a level of determination that should inspire us all,” she said on Twitter.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recalled Hagedorn’s long ties to Congress.

“Starting as a congressional staffer and then becoming a member, Jim focused on supporting and strengthening the agriculture community that is the foundation for his Southern Minnesota community,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Jim lived and breathed the spirit of determined optimism that is embedded in the American way of life all the way till the end.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted that Hagedorn was “a strong conservative with a great sense of humor who loved this country & worked tirelessly for the people he represented.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that Hagedorn was a “proud son of Minnesota, descended from three generations of farmers” and that “he brought a committed voice for his constituents to his committee assignments.

“May it be a comfort to his wife Jennifer and his loved ones that the Congress prays for them at this sad time,” Pelosi said.

Former president Donald Trump also offered condolences, calling Hagedorn “a strong and effective legislator for the great people of Southern Minnesota.”

“I campaigned with Jim in 2018, and enjoyed working with him in Congress,” Trump said in a statement. “May he rest in Peace, and his family find comfort during this difficult time. He will be greatly missed!”

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