Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye has died at age 88, his office confirmed Monday night.
His last words, according to a statement released by his staff, were “Aloha”.
Inouye has been hospitalized since early December due to respiratory problems. His cause of death was “respiratory complications”.
Inouye served Hawaii in the Congress since the time of its statehood, and he was a Medal of Honor recipient during WWII. The citation:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to
SECOND LIEUTENANT DANIEL K. INOUYE
UNITED STATES ARMY
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
The statement from his office is here. He was surrounded by family when he passed away.
Inouye was third in line for the presidency as he was the the most senior member of the Senate. Sen. Pat Leahy will take his place.
Immediately following Inouye’s death, his colleagues took to the Senate floor to remember him. ”His service to the Senate will be with the greats of this body,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.).
Inouye’s seat will be filled by an appointment by Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D). He will pick from three finalists provided by the state Democratic Party. State law requires that Inouye must be replaced by a senator from the same political party. Inouye’s seat is up for a full term in 2016.
McConnell and Reid pay tribute on the floor.
Inouye spoke on the Senate floor on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor:
May he rest in peace.