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Debbie Dingell Asks For Prayers For Husband As They Enter 'New Phase'

February 06, 2019 - 6:14 pm

DEARBORN (WWJ) Longtime Michigan Congressman John Dingell is resting at home with his wife, amid reports that he is not doing well. 

"We had a report last night that the former congressman -- the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, 59 years -- was in hospice care, but the family has not confirmed that," reported WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick. 

In a tweeted message Wednesday morning, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell wrote that she's "taking each day as it comes," asking for "prayers and privacy during this difficult time."

Debbie Dingell wrote hat she "would be in Washington right now unless something was up." She said she is home with her husband and that they "have entered a new phase," adding: "He is my love and we have been a team for nearly 40 years."

John Dingell, who is known for his witty, fiery and often poignant tweets, later issued this update, with the help of his wife: 

"The Lovely Deborah is insisting I rest and stay off here," he wrote, "but after long negotiations we've worked out a deal where she'll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages. I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You're not done with me just yet."

John Dingell was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1955 when he filled the seat vacated by his late father who died in office. When John Dingell retired, his wife was elected to the seat. 

"There is no way to describe Congressman (John) Dingell other than an absolute giant in American politics," Oakland University Political Science Professor Dave Dulio said. "He meant not only a great deal to our state when he was serving in the House, but he meant an incredible amount to the institution of Congress and the country as a whole."

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke live with former Michigan Governor James Blanchard who has known John Dingell for 45 years.

"I met him when I was running for Congress in 1974, and he was a real mentor to so many of us in politics," Blanchard said. "And here's a guy who's not only a dedicated public servant year in and year out, but helped so many other people, and was never reluctant to pitch in and help others, even when they got the credit maybe he should've deserved."

"I don't know anyone who's served as long as he is with such integrity, and public-spirited devotion." 

The update comes after the former congressman suffered a heart attack and spent a week in the hospital last October. 

Lauded for his legislative work in support of the U.S. auto industry, John Dingell helped pen the  Endangered Species Act of 1973, also playing a key role in the Clean Water Act of 1972. Said to be a an achievements for which Dingell is proudest is the 2001 creation of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.