US Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, died after losing consciousness on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle on Friday. Young was travelling to Alaska with his wife, Anne, when the tragic incident took place. The exact cause of his death has not been disclosed yet.
The longest-serving member of the House, Young was embroiled in a controversy in 2014 after a House Ethics Committee report found him violating House rules by using campaign funds to pay for 15 personal hunting trips that took place between 2001 and 2013.
What Caused Young's Death?
Announcing his death, Young's office issued a statement. "It's with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce Congressman Don Young, the Dean of the House and revered champion for Alaska, passed away today while traveling home to Alaska to be with the state and people that he loved," the statement read. "His beloved wife Ann was by his side."
Speaking to Anchorage Daily News, Jack Ferguson, Young's former chief of staff, said that the Republican lost consciousness on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle and couldn't be resuscitated. "Everyone's learning about it right at the moment. The phone's ringing off the hook. I'm sad to lose such a good friend, and a person that I've known all his political career," Ferguson said.
A California native, Young served the congress following his victory in the special elections conduced in 1973. Currently on his 25th term, Young was running for a 26th term.
Condolences Pour on Social Media
Soon after the news of Young's death broke, condolences poured on social media. "The first time we spoke, Don Young cheerfully informed me that I was the 17th secretary he'd dealt with at DOT. Our politics weren't the same, but it was always a pleasure working with him. A true character, he shaped US infrastructure in many ways, and will be deeply missed," wrote Pete Buttigieg.
"I'll miss Don Young. He was a good partner with me as co-chair of the Critical Elements Caucus in Congress. We believed America's God given rare earth resources were better to rely on than China's and that we should invest more in them. RIP, Dean Young," expressed Eric Swalwell.
"Don Young died. He was a legend, like it or not (I did not). I always voted against him & thought a lot of the stuff he said & did was awful, but the man was the longest serving rep in Congress & I think usually had (what he at least felt) were AK's best interests at heart. RIP," tweeted a user.