By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, 92, is receiving hospice care, a source to the family confirmed to the AP on Feb. 6. The person was not authorized to speak publicly, but informed the news outlet of Dingell’s condition, according to the AP.
Multiple other news outlets are additionally reporting that Dingell had chosen not to get treatment for his prostate cancer that has metastasized.
“The Lovely Deborah is insisting I rest and stay off here, but after long negotiations we’ve worked out a deal where she’ll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages,” Dingell wrote on his Twitter page on Feb. 6. “I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet.”
That same day, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) shared a message on her Facebook page regarding her husband’s health and her absence from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
“Friends and colleagues know me and know I would be in Washington right now unless something was up,” she wrote. “I am home with John and we have entered a new phase. He is my love and we have been a team for nearly 40 years. I will be taking each day as it comes. We thank people for their friendship and support and ask for prayers and privacy during this difficult time.”
John Dingell has recently faced a number of health issues and hospital visits, including a minimally invasive heart procedure in March 2014, a hairline hip fracture in December 2014, a heart procedure in October 2015, and a small heart attack last September.
He took office on Dec. 13, 1955, following a special election for the seat representing the 15th District of Michigan. The seat had formerly been held by John Dingell’s father, John D. Dingell Sr., who represented the district from 1933 until his death in 1955.
Since then, John Dingell was re-elected 29 times despite the re-drawing of district lines several times over the years. He was last victorious in the November 2012 elections where he won the seat representing Michigan’s 12th District.
On June 7, 2013, he became the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history. At 57 years, 5 months and 26 days, he passed the previous mark set by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.). Dingell was already the longest-serving member of the House, a feat he attained in February 2009.
He retired in 2014, with Debbie Dingell succeeding him after she won the 12th District House seat during the November 2014 general election.
In November 2014, John Dingell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award, from former President Barack Obama.
John Dingell sat on all six subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was also chairman of that committee from 1981 to 1995 and again from 2007 to 2009.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)