U.S. Congressman Bill Young - the longest serving Republican in the House of Representatives - has died at the age of 82.
The Florida representative since he was first elected in 1970 died Friday evening, just a week after he announced he would retire and not seek a 23rd term next year.
His chief of staff said Young died at a hospital just outside Washington where he had been for nearly two weeks with back problems related to a 1970 small plane crash.
As the former chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and one of the strongest defense supporters in Congress, Young made headlines last year when he said the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama said in a statement that Young "will be remembered for his advocacy and support for the armed forces, service members and their families."
Former Florida governor Charlie Crist called Young "an absolute giant in Florida politics."