Alaska Rep. Don Young, longest-serving congress member, dies at 88

Don Young, a blunt-speaking Republican and longest-serving member of Alaska’s congressional delegation, has died. He was 88.

His office announced Young’s death in a statement Friday night.

“It’s with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce Congressman Don Young (R-AK), 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. His beloved wife Anne was by his side,” said the statement from his spokesperson, Zach Brown.

Young, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1973, was known for his brusque style. In his later years in office, his off-color comments and gaffes sometimes overshadowed his work. During his 2014 reelection bid, he described himself as intense and less-than-perfect but said he wouldn’t stop fighting for Alaska.