Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., has died, according to reports:
Congressman John P. Murtha died Monday at 1:18 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA.
Murtha, 77, was Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
Murtha had been hospitalized last week due to complications from gall bladder surgery.
Pennsylvania's longest-serving congressman was a lightning rod. In the past few years, he was the subject of numerous ethics investigations. Murtha was also a bete noire of conservatives, who particularly loathed the former Marine's reckless comments about the 2006 incident that left 15 civilians dead in the Iraqi city of Haditha.
There will be more commentary about that and Murtha's legacy in Western Pennsylvania in the coming hours, days, and weeks to be sure. For now, however, my condolences to Murtha's family.
As Allahpundit at Hot Air writes, today we "accentuate the positive" (quoting the Washington Post story):
He entered the Marine Corps in 1952, during the Korean War period, and served until 1955. He returned to Johnstown to run the family car wash and finish his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962, and he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. During the Vietnam conflict, he volunteered for combat and served near Da Nang in 1966 and 1967.
In 1955, he married Joyce Bell. She survives, along with their daughter, Donna Murtha ; twin sons, Pat Murtha and John M. Murtha ; and three grandchildren…
Rep. Murtha, whose military decorations included the Bronze Star and two awards of the Purple Heart, was one of the first Vietnam veterans to sit in the House. His district returned him regularly to office, and after 10 years, Rep. Murtha had quietly established himself as a key Capitol Hill player who could woo lawmakers of divergent views to join forces.
A special election will be called within 60 days to fill Murtha's seat for the remainder of the year.