Former Congressman Dan Benishek dies


U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., is seen during a congressional panel at the 2016 Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Mackinac Island, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Former U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls) who represented northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in Congress from 2011 to 2017, died Friday, his family said in a statement. He was 69.

Details about how he died were not released.

During his time in Congress, Benishek served on the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Veterans Affairs committees. He also worked at the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center for two decades as a surgeon.

“Today, Yoopers and Michiganders lost a fighter,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday. “Congressman Benishek represented the spirit of ‘Sisu’ during his time in office. In Congress, he championed our men and women in uniform,  advocated fiercely for veterans, and worked to protect Sleeping Bear Dunes. As a physician and an elected official, Dan put people first. My thoughts are with his wife, children, and grandchildren.” 

After funeral arrangements are announced, Whitmer’s office said a release will be issued to lower the United States and State of Michigan flags in his honor. 

Republican leaders described him as an advocate who fought with passion. 

“Representative Dan Benishek served the first district of Michigan with honor and distinction, and I am very sad to hear of his passing,” Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser said in a statement. “I first worked with Dan in 2010 when the MIGOP assisted him in flipping the First District from blue to red. I also worked closely with Dan during his time in Congress and saw firsthand how his conservative principles guided his leadership in his community. My condolences and prayers go out to his wife, Judy, and the rest of their family who are surely mourning his loss.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article

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