Feb. 7 (UPI) -- John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, died Thursday at age 92.
The Detroit Democrat was diagnosed a year ago with prostate cancer that had metastasized and he decided to forgo treatment.
Dingell first entered Congress in 1955, succeeding his father who had died earlier that year. He went on to serve as U.S. Representative for the 12th District for 59 years, until his retirement in 2015.
Debbie Dingell, his wife, has held the position since then.
Dingell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's greatest civilian award, from President Barack Obama on Nov. 24, 2014.
In the announcement that Dingell would receive the honor, the White House called him "one of the most influential legislators in history."
Dingell is credited with increasing access to healthcare and helping write the majority of America's major environmental and energy laws.
News of the statesman's deteriorating health was announced Tuesday by his wife on Twitter saying he had entered hospice care.
"Friends and colleagues know me and know I would be in Washington right now unless something was up," she said. "I am home with John and we have entered a new phase. He is my love and we have been a team for nearly 40 years."
John Dingell found fame in his retirement on Twitter for his humorous comments and poignant thoughts.
"The Lovely Deborah is insisting I rest and stay off here, but after long negotiations we've worked out a deal where she'll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages," he wrote Tuesday in what would be his final tweet. "I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You're not done with me just yet."
A previous version of this story contained an error. Rep. John Dingell retired in 2015.
I will be taking each day as it comes. We thank people for their friendship and support and ask for prayers and privacy during this difficult time.— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) February 6, 2019