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Former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka dies at 93

Former United States Senator Daniel Akaka dies at age 93. That’s according to Akaka’s former Communications Director Jesse Broder Van Dyke. Akaka was the first native Hawaiian to serve in the Senate. He worked in Washington for more than three and a half decades. The former Senator had been hospitalized with an illness.

His colleagues are already reacting on twitter.

Statements on the passing of Senator Akaka:

“Senator Akaka was a true statesman who exemplified the best qualities of a leader and embodied the spirit of Aloha.  He dedicated his life to serving the people of Hawai‘i and we are all better because of him. My deepest condolences to Aunty Millie and the entire Akaka family during this time.”

-Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi

“As the highest ranking Native Hawaiian in elected office, Senator Akaka embodied the hopes and dreams of the Hawaiian people.  His steadfast commitment to Hawai‘i and his many accomplishments has created a firm foundation for Native Hawaiians to move forward.  Aloha minamina iā ‘Anakē Millie me ka ‘ohana Akaka.  Ke aloha paumākō.”

-Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English

“Former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka epitomized the true meaning of aloha.  He treated everyone with genuine kindness, grace and compassion.  We deeply mourn his passing and send our heartfelt sympathies to his family.  Rest in peace and love, Senator Akaka.”

-Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin

“My heart is heavy today as we remember my dear friend and mentor, Senator Daniel K. Akaka. With a servant’s heart full of aloha, Senator Akaka dedicated his life to serving the people and our nation, in the U.S. Army, as a public school teacher, in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in the U.S. Senate. I am grateful to have worked with and known Senator Akaka over the years, and to have witnessed firsthand how he truly embodied the aloha spirittreating all with kindness, respect, and love. His legacy of service and aloha will continue to inspire each of us to live aloha every dayserving others, protecting our planet, and fighting for justice, equality, and peace. My heart is with Aunty Millie and the entire Akaka ʻohana. A hui hou and aloha, my friend.”

-Representative Tulsi Gabbard

“Senator Akaka served Hawaii with dignity, respect and humility. He never lost sight of his values and the need to protect our state and its people.  Hawaii has lost an extraordinary statesman.”

-House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki

“It is with great sorrow that we mourn the passing of former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka. He was the embodiment of the word ‘Aloha’ and service to others, and so served as an inspiration to his colleagues of all parties.  Working in Washington D.C. for 35 years, he was the first native Hawaiian to be elected to Congress.  His many years of service, his great love and respect for Hawaii, is a legacy for all of us to preserve and follow. Here on Maui he was a tireless resource for our veterans, and worked to help expand the Makawao Veterans Cemetery as well as other veterans services.  On behalf of Ann and myself, the people of Maui County, our family, friends, and colleagues, we extend our condolences and Aloha to his wife Millie, their children and the rest of the Akaka Ohana.”

 – Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa

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