Rep. Tom Lantos dies at 80
Representative Tom Lantos, RIP.
Photo by Luke
By Ashley Wright
February 11, 2008
Congressman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, San Francisco, died early
this morning due to complications from cancer at the Bethesda
Naval Medical Center in Maryland, his spokeswoman said.
Lantos, 80, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late December.
Lantos announced that he would not seek reelection to the U.S.
House of Representatives on Jan. 2, but had committed to serving
the rest of his 14th term through December, spokeswoman Lynne
Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to Congress
and served as a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform. He was the founding co-chairman of the
24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and was elected
chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January
2007, according to Weil.
Lantos died at 2:30 a.m. in Maryland, which was about 11:30 p.m.
PST, Weil said. He leaves behind his wife, two daughters, 18 grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren.
The date for a public memorial has not been set, according to
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued the following statement:
Today our state mourns the loss of Congressman Tom Lantos,
who led a life marked by passion, bravery and relentless dedication
to promoting human rights and tolerance. Maria and I extend our
deepest condolences to his family during this painful time and
we will continue to pray for their comfort. We are forever indebted
to Congressman Lantos for his devoted service to our nation and
his example of courage that will continue to be admired by all
California Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo)
issued the following statement:
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Tom
Lantos. We have lost one of our finest champions for working families,
human rights, national security, and the environment. When looking
for hope and inspiration, we need not look any further than the
life of Congressman Lantos who survived the Holocaust, fought
genocide in Darfur, and courageously battled cancer. I extend
my deepest condolences to Toms wife Annette and their family.
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) issued
the following statement:
I am proud to have called Tom Lantos my friend and my Congressman
and will deeply miss his commitment to working people, the environment
and human rights. He has represented people in San Francisco and
San Mateo with great honor and integrity for more than two decades,
using his clout in Congress to improve human rights around the
world, protect jobs here at home and help regular people resolve
tough problems. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Annette
and his wonderful family during this difficult time.
Assemblymember Fiona Ma with Tom Lantos, 2006.
Mayor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement:
San Francisco, CA - Mayor Gavin Newsom was deeply saddened to
hear of todays passing of Congressman Tom Lantos. My
friend and colleague Tom Lantos has been a tireless advocate in
Congress for the residents of the Bay Area for over 26 years and
his legacy in the region is untold.
Tom Lantoss work elevating the issue of human rights
and responsible diplomacy was a true reflection of the best of
the Bay Areas values. As Founder and Co-Chairman of the
Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Tom Lantos was always the first
person to advocate for the most vulnerable of our global citizens,
through the lens of his own experience as a Holocaust survivor,
so that we always remembered our responsibility to ensure basic
human rights for all.
As one of the pioneers of environmental activism, Tom Lantos
devoted his career to the protection of the Bay Areas natural
environment. Whether it was forwarding legislation to protect
Phleger Estate and Mori Point and thousands of acres of natural
area on the Peninsula, or his success protecting the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area from encroaching development, his stewardship
of our most beautiful natural resources will always be remembered.
My deepest condolences to his wife and daughters, family
and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.