Family members gather with ailing Rep. C.W. Bill Young to celebrate the baptism of Young's 3-month-old grandson. Photo courtesy Rep. Young's family
A screenshot shows a tweet from Representative C.W. Bill Young's son, Bill Young II, announcing the death of his father at 6:50 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2013.
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP/WTSP) - Florida U.S. Rep. Bill Young died at the age of 82 Friday.
The family of ailing Florida Congressman C.W. Bill Young released a photo Friday taken at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where Young was being hospitalized.
Young's son, Bill Young II, said the occasion for the photo was the baptism of Young's three-month-old grandson.
Young's office said this week the lawmaker's condition worsened Wednesday night, and his doctors said his prognosis was guarded.
SEE ALSO: Congressman Bill Young 'gravely ill'
The news came just one week after the congressman announced he would not run for re-election in 2014. He planned to retire after serving 22 terms over a span of 43 years in Congress-one of the longest terms ever served.
Rep. C.W. Bill Young was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1971 as representative of Florida's 13th district, which covers much of Pinellas County. In those 43 years, he influenced the Tampa Bay area in countless ways.
His pet projects included easing congestion on U.S. Highway 19 in Pinellas County, attracting high-tech jobs to St. Petersburg, improving health care for low-income children and families, building a state of the art medical center for veterans at Bay Pines VA, and ensuring a steady supply of water for the Tampa Bay area.
Rep. Young also helped keep our beaches beautiful by bringing federal dollars to our shores to fight erosion and re-nourish the landscape.
But in a political career that spanned more than 40 years, perhaps Young will be most remembered for his military mark- known as a tireless advocate for the men and women who serve this county, and a big supporter of MacDill. Young and his wife, Beverly, frequently visited ailing service members at hospitals in the Washington area.
Young was also Chairman of the influential Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. During his tenure, he brought bringing millions back to his Pinellas County district.
In 2009, Young won the Ronald Reagan Award for his commitment to serving our nation and keeping it safe for decades.
Since his passing, Florida political leaders released statements expressing their condolences and reflecting on his Congressional career.
RELATED: Constituents hope for Rep. Young's recovery
Florida Governor Rick Scott said he will mourn Young's passing, but will remember him as a "True statesman and a champion for the Tampa Bay area."
Governor Rick Scott's full statement:
"Ann and I join all Floridians as we mourn the passing of Representative Bill Young. As Florida's longest serving member of Congress, Bill will be remembered as a true statesman and champion for the Tampa Bay area. He served with eight US Presidents throughout his career, always putting the families of Florida first, and working across the aisle to find solutions.
His work to support military families, our veterans, and his own service with the Army National Guard and as a reservist, will leave a lasting legacy. Representative Young will be missed by his constituents and our entire nation. Ann and I offer our support and prayers to his wife Beverly and his sons and grandchildren during this difficult time."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also released a statement Friday night. Buckhorn recognized Young's dedication to our country and the Tampa Bay Community, and said he "represented what a public servant should be."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's full statement:
"Bill Young's love for his country and our community was best shown in his dedication to public service. Tonight, we lost a champion who never forgot where he came from and always had Tampa Bay at the top of his agenda.
He was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather. He was also a man who served our community in more ways than one: first in uniform and later in public office. Bill Young represented what a public servant should be. Country before party, progress before partisanship, and service above self. He was my friend, a friend to Tampa, and a friend to anyone who has worn this country's uniform.
My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the Young family."
In St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's statement, he said Florida residents and St. Petersburg locals lost their finest representative and advocate, but that he personally lost a friend and mentor.
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's full statement:
"Tonight, our country lost a national treasure; our state lost its finest representative; our city lost its biggest advocate; and me- my friend and mentor. God bless Congressman C.W. Bill Young and his family. Well done good and faithful servant."
Senator Bill Nelson's full statement:
"Bill Young was one of the exemplary figures in Congress who achieved legislative consensus in a bipartisan way," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. "He put the good of the country and his constituents above partisan politics and he is going to be very much missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
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