North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones dies at 76

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Walter Jones passed away on Sunday at the age of 76 after being placed in hospice on January 14. The 3rd District Republican congressman's health declined after he suffered a broken hip and underwent surgery on January 15.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a release that Jones" "relentless work on behalf of our men and women in uniform, veterans, military families and caregivers honored our American values and strengthened our country'. With a kind heart and the courage of his convictions, he dedicated his life to serving his Savior and to standing up for Americans who needed a voice.

'Congressman Jones was a man of the people, ' his office said in a statement. He was never afraid to take a principled stand.

Jones was known for his independence, the statement said. "Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognized that he did what he thought was right", the statement said. "He will be sorely missed".

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 12: U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) speaks during a press conference on U.S. House bill H.R. 428 in the Cannon House Office Building on March 12, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Jones served on the Committee on Armed Services, and is a member of various caucuses. He had been re-elected to his 13th term in November and had announced he would retire at the end of the term.

Mr Jones represented his district for 34 years, first in the North Carolina state legislature, then in Congress. 'God be with and keep his family.

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"For me, it's a sacred responsibility that I have to communicate my condolences to a family", Jones said. He served with conviction, humility, generosity and kindness.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of a longtime leader, proud North Carolinian, a devoted family man of deep faith and my friend of over 40 years", Rep. G.K. Butterfield said in a statement.

Congressman Jones represented the best of North Carolina politics. "We will miss him".

Jones was among the House members who led a campaign that resulted in the chamber's cafeteria offering "freedom fries" and "freedom toast" - instead of French fries and French toast. However, Jones later said he regretted his enthusiasm for the military operation, telling Mother Jones magazine that the funeral of a 31-year-old Marine with three young children helped change his mind. Jones, a once-fervent supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq who later became an equally outspoken Republican critic of the war, died Sunday.

February 10 had also been his birthday.

Jones is a 1966 graduate of Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College.

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