Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Young died Friday evening from complications related to a chronic injury, according to a statement released by the Young family.
Young's death comes one week after announcing he would not seek a 23nd term. He was 82.
Young's chief of staff, Harry Glenn, said he died Friday at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He had been there for nearly two weeks with back problems that stemmed from a 1970 small plane crash. On Oct. 9, from his hospital bed, Young announced that he would not seek another term in 2014.
The Young family said in a statement that he passed away in the company of his family.
Young was Florida's longest-serving member of Congress and a defense hawk who was influential on military spending during his 43 years in Washington.
As one of the strongest defense supporters in Congress, Young made headlines in 2012 when he said the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
Statement by President Obama:
Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman C.W. Bill Young. For over 50 years Bill served the people of Florida, both in the state legislature and as the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. He will be remembered for his advocacy and support for the armed forces, service members, and their families as well as his statesmanship and long history of working across the aisle to keep our country moving forward.
Statement from Governor Rick Scott:
Ann and I join all Floridians as we mourn the passing of Representative Bill Young. As Florida’s longest serving member of Congress, Bill will be remembered as a true statesman and champion for the Tampa Bay area. He served with eight US Presidents throughout his career, always putting the families of Florida first, and working across the aisle to find solutions.
His work to support military families, our veterans, and his own service with the Army National Guard and as a reservist, will leave a lasting legacy. Representative Young will be missed by his constituents and our entire nation. Ann and I offer our support and prayers to his wife Beverly and his sons and grandchildren during this difficult time.
Statement from Senator Marco Rubio:
Floridians have lost one of the greatest public servants we’ve ever had in our state’s history. For over a half century, Bill fought tirelessly for the Tampa Bay region and to strengthen Florida’s role as a critical part of our national defense. Largely because of Bill Young, many of our nation’s brave men and women in uniform have called Florida home at some point in their careers, with many of them spending their golden retirement years here. Throughout Bill’s career, our military and veterans have had no greater champion than him. My thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s wife, Beverly, and their entire family.
Statement by Secretary Hagel:
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Bill Young this evening. On behalf of the three million men and women of the Department of Defense, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to Beverly and the Young family. I have known and respected Bill Young for more than four decades. He dedicated his life to serving our country -- beginning with nearly a decade in the Army National Guard and culminating in more than 40 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He will be remembered as a passionate advocate for the welfare of America's service members and military veterans. Though his loss will be felt by many, his legacy and commitment to a strong national defense will always inspire us.
Statement from Senator Bill Nelson:
Bill Young was one of the exemplary figures in Congress who achieved legislative consensus in a bipartisan way. He put the good of the country and his constituents above partisan politics and he is going to be very much missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Statement from RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry:
I, and the Republican Party of Florida, mourn the death of Congressman Bill Young. Over five decades of public service, Bill Young has been a constant champion for his constituents and for the state of Florida. He has always stood up for the Sunshine State and fought for the best interests of its citizens. His dedication, his leadership, and his friendship will be sorely missed. His wife Beverly and his two children, Billy and Patrick, are in our thoughts and prayers today.
Statement from U.S. Rep Dennis Ross (FL-15):
Bill dedicated so much of his life as a public servant. It has been a privilege to get to know him better as we’ve both represented central Floridians in Congress. Cindy and I extend our deepest condolences and prayers to Beverly, Rob, Billy, Pat, and the whole Young family during this incredibly difficult time.
Statement from Congresswoman Kathy Castor:
Tampa Bay is mourning the passing of Congressman Bill Young, but celebrates his life as a leader who for decades has been passionate about our community, especially MacDill Air Force Base, our military members, veterans and their families. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
Congressman Young was a man of honor and leaves us with a lasting legacy. He will be remembered as a tireless champion for Pinellas County residents and for being instrumental in the funding of important projects that will benefit generations of this community. He will always be revered for the mark he left in numerous areas including the University of South Florida, Bay Pines Medical Center, St. Petersburg College and Tampa Bay Water.
A recent event alongside Congressman Young was in St. Petersburg to honor our fallen law enforcement officers with congressional medals of honor and meet with their families. It has been a privilege to serve with Congressman Young and I am fortunate to remember him in this cherished setting, among our neighbors and hometown heroes.
Statement from St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster:
Tonight, our country lost a national treasure; our state lost its finest representative; our city lost its biggest advocate; and me - my friend and mentor. God bless Congressman C. W. Bill Young and his family. Well done good and faithful servant.
Statement from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn:
Bill Young's love for his country and our community was best shown in his dedication to public service. Tonight, we lost a champion who never forgot where he came from and always had Tampa Bay at the top of his agenda.
He was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather. He was also a man who served our community in more ways than one: first in uniform and later in public office. Bill Young represented what a public servant should be. Country before party, progress before partisanship, and service above self. He was my friend, a friend to Tampa, and a friend to anyone who has worn this country's uniform. My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the Young family.
Statement from Tampa Bay Young Republicans:
The Tampa Bay Young Republicans express our heartfelt sadness at the passing of Florida Congressman Bill Young. We extend our condolences to his family and loved ones. Rep. Young’s 42 years of service to the Tampa Bay area leave behind a legacy of commitment to the public good. His dedication encourages everyone to engage in positive political participation that benefits all Americans.
Rep. Young was the first chairman of the Florida Federation of Young Republicans, demonstrating the importance of involvement in the democratic process at all ages. We strive to emulate his example of lifelong interest in the service of others.
Statement from Commissioner Adam Putnam:
Florida lost a statesman tonight, in every sense of the word. Bill Young rose from humble beginnings, invented the modern Republican Party in Florida, was friend and counselor to U.S. and foreign leaders, and helped shape today's military.
Bill was a tireless supporter of our troops and made sure the support continued when they became veterans. He and Beverly never missed an opportunity to give comfort and support to the wounded and their families. He saved MacDill for Tampa Bay and saved the Everglades for all of us. His leadership aided our state in the aftermath of multiple hurricanes and rebuilt the beaches for the world to enjoy.
I never once heard a cross word uttered by him or about him. Once, when a major vote was pending, and the vote was tight, Bill asked the White House Legislative Affairs Director if he could speak personally with President Bush. The staffer walked out with me and shared that, as it was past 2:00 a.m., the President was asleep. ‘What are you going to do?,’ I asked. ‘Wake him up for Mr. Young,’ was the reply.
Many will say or write over the next few days, ‘They don't make them like Bill Young anymore.’ The truth is, they never did.