Former Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, is receiving hospice care, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.
The person was not authorized to speak publicly but told The Associated Press about the 92-year-old Dingell’s condition. Dingell’s wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, tweeted Wednesday morning that she was with him at their home in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.
“Friends and colleagues know me and know I would be in Washington right now unless something was up,” tweeted Dingell, who successfully ran for her husband’s Michigan seat in 2014. “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.”
Debbie Dingell also thanked people for their “friendship and support,” and asked for “prayers and privacy during this difficult time.”
John Dingell announced in early 2014 that he would not run for a 30th full term because he could not have lived up to his own standards.
“I don’t want people to be sorry for me. … I don’t want to be going out feet-first, and I don’t want to do less than an adequate job,” said Dingell, who by that time was 87 and using a cane or motorized cart to get around the Capitol.
Dingell suffered a heart attack in September. He was hospitalized but was soon “cracking jokes as usual,” his wife said at the time.
John Dingell has 252,000 followers on Twitter, an outlet for the outspoken Democrat’s wry takes and quick wit. He noted the minus-7 temperature in Hell, Michigan, last week and retweeted a tweet from the Detroit Free Press that said the “Detroit Lions are going to win the Super Bowl” now that Hell had frozen over.
Dingell was first elected in 1955 to fill the House seat vacated by his late father. He was considered a master of legislative deal-making and a staunch advocate for the U.S. auto industry.