Sen. Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, dead at 88

Updated
Photo dated January 14, 2009 shows US Democratic Senator from Hawaii Daniel Inouye during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Inouye died on December 17...
Photo dated January 14, 2009 shows US Democratic Senator from Hawaii Daniel Inouye during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Inouye died on December 17...
JIM WATSON

War hero and longtime senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has died, NBC News confirms.

The 88-year-old was the upper chamber’s longest-serving lawmaker and had been battling respiratory problems.

According to Inouye’s staff, the senator passed away at 5:01 ET on Monday at  Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland with his wife and son by his side.

His office said that when asked recently how he wanted to be remembered, the World War II hero said, “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did ok.”

His staff said his last words were “Aloha.”

Inouye began a life in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He served with the “E” Company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, a group of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Inouye lost his arm to a German hand grenade during a battle in Italy in 1945. His actions earned him the Medal of Honor.

He was first elected into the House of Representatives in 1959 and has been a senator since 1963. Inouye, the highest-ranking Asian American lawmaker in U.S. history, was chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

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Sen. Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, dead at 88

Updated