Walter Jones, a 13-term Republican congressman from North Carolina who made a name for himself by becoming an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq after initially supporting the invasion, died Sunday afternoon, his office announced. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. On January 14, Jones suffered a broken hip at his home in North Carolina and underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. His family issued a statement on January 26 announcing that he had entered hospice care and asking for privacy.
The Congressman had been battling an undisclosed illness for several months forcing him to miss votes on Capital Hill since the fall.
The son of a longtime Democratic congressman, Jones was first elected to serve his coastal North Carolina district in 1994. The fiscal and social conservative won unopposed in last November's general election after fending off Republican primary challengers stoked partly by Jones' willingness to dissent from the Washington leaders of his party. Jones wrote a letter of apology to Blitz's family, and went on to write 11,000 more to the relatives of service members who died in the war. However, he later regretted authorizing then-President George W. Bush to use force to topple Saddam Hussein.
State Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said "North Carolina lost a strong advocate and I lost a friend".
"If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have supported the resolution" to go to war, Jones said in 2005.
Prior to his election to Congress, Jones served 10 years in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
"Congressman Jones represented the best of North Carolina politics", said Butterfield.
'Deeply saddened by the passing of Walter Jones-a beloved colleague and friend who had a profound impact on all through his graciousness, character, and committed Christian faith, ' Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted. "God be with and keep his family".
"Walter Jones was one of a kind".
In response, Mr Jones and his fellow Republican Robert W Ney pushed for cafeterias in the House of Representatives to rename their French fries and French toast "freedom fries" and "freedom toast".
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