U.S Rep. Mark Takai dies at 49

The congressman had been battling pancreatic cancer.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has passed away, nine months after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died in Honolulu this morning, surrounded by family, at the age of 49.


Gov. David Ige released a statement eulogizing Takai:


“Today, the people of Hawai‘i mourn the passing of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai. He proudly served his country in uniform, including 17 years with the Hawai‘i Army National Guard. Mark humbly and effectively served the people of his state House and Congressional districts. In the often tumultuous world of politics, he has been a shining example of what it means to be a public servant.


“While we will deeply feel the loss of Mark Takai in the public arena, we cannot forget that he was a family man first. His wife, children and extended family will miss him every moment from this day on. Dawn and I extend our deepest sympathies to Sami, Matthew and Kaila. Your husband and father was a man of principle and goodwill. Thank you for sharing him with the citizens of Hawai‘i.”


News of Takai's death drew statements of sympathy from as far as Washington D.C. President Barack Obama said, "Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Representative Mark Takai today. Mark was always a fighter. It’s the spirit he brought to more than two decades of public service on behalf of the people of Hawai‘i. He stood up for America’s most vulnerable. He championed our troops and veterans, and proudly wore our nation’s uniform. And his relentless push for cancer research inspired countless Americans fighting the same battle as him. Simply put, our country is better off because of Mark’s contributions. He leaves a legacy of courage, of service and of hope. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark's wife, Sami, their two children, and his many friends and family."


Hillary Clinton, also, released a statement.  “The loss of Congressman Mark Takai will be felt keenly from Washington to Honolulu. Mark was everything a public servant should be. He spent his entire life in service of his state and his country–from the Hawai‘i Army National Guard to the Hawaii State House to the House of Representatives–fighting to make sure veterans and their families are supported, supporting ambitious steps to protect his state and our planet from the perils of climate change, and championing the rights of Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian communities. I am grateful to Mark for his friendship and deeply honored to have earned his support. My thoughts and prayers are with Mark's family and friends, and especially with his wife Sami and his children Matthew and Kaila."


Two months ago, Takai announced he would not be seeking re-election, due to his illness.


The Takai family thanked the people of Hawai‘i for their support and asked for privacy. They have not yet announced details of the services.