Former Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Democrat from Hawaii who fought for veterans and Pacific islanders, died Friday. He was 93.
Akaka, who served in Congress for three decades, was the first Hawaiian of native descent to represent the Senate. He was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 1976.
Akaka died in Honolulu after being hospitalized for several months, the Associated Press quoted Jon Yoshimura, the senator's former communications director, as saying.
Akaka was a strong ally for Guam’s issues during his time in the Senate, Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo said.
“I am saddened by the death of my friend and former colleague, Senator Daniel Akaka from Hawaii. Senator Akaka served for 36 years in Congress and was a true champion for the people of Hawaii, and all Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans,” Bordallo said in a statement.
“I cherished his consistent support and friendship. He was a dedicated public servant who ardently fought for veterans and his constituency. I extend our community’s condolences to the people of Hawaii as they mourn his passing. Senator Akaka will be missed,” she added.
In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi remembered as “a clarion voice for the rights and needs of Native peoples, ensuring that our commitment to Tribal nations and Native Hawaiians was never forgotten.”