Dan Benishek, a former congressman from Michigan's UP, died at 69. He was 89

Dan Benishek, a former congressman from Michigan's UP, died at 69. He was 89 ...

Dan Benishek, a three-term Republican congressman and doctor from Michigans Upper Peninsula, has died, his family announced Saturday.

He was 69.

Benishek, also known as Dr. Dan, served three terms in the United States House of Representatives from 2011-2016. According to a statement from his family, he died on the evening of Oct. 15, according to his funeral.

Benisheks family said in a statement that they were heartbroken by the sudden loss of he dear friend, cherished husband, dedicated grandfather, and tireless advocate for Northern Michigan. Dan saved countless lives in our community as a doctor and surgeon. His advocacy in Congress has made a difference for veterans across the country and protected Michigans natural wonders for years to come. He will always be remembered by his family and friends as a strong leader, able healer, and unwavering patriot, he added.

Benishek was born in Iron River in 1952. He worked at the Iron River Hotel, his familys hotel until turning 18. His family said he attended the University of Michigan and Wayne State University School of Medicine before practicing as a general surgeon in the United States.

Benishek won the Republican primary for Michigans 1st Congressional District in 2010 by a 15-vote margin. Benishek served on the agriculture, natural resources, and veterans affairs committees as a congressman.

See also: Dale Kildee, who for 36 years represented Flint area in Congress, died at 92. He was a member of the Flint Republican Party.

Candice Miller, a former congresswoman from Macomb County who worked with Benishek, called him a great Yooper Patriot in describing him as 'a wonderful Yoaper patriot' in an article following his death.

Dan was always happy when he was in his beloved Upper Peninsula, and it was a privilege to work with him, Miller said.

Luke Londo, a Hazel Park City Council member, remembers Benishek, his mentor, as a remarkable human being.

"(Benishek) gave me my start. My entire trajectory - from politics to PR comes directly from the opportunity he gave me," Londo wrote in a Twitter post Saturday. We all know politics is awful. But he made it less so. He is the most genuine man Ive ever met, one who built consensus over a beer and not in tumultuous backroom discussions.

Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, recalls Benishek as a cheerful advocate who fought for his values with passion.

Dan was a man who cared about his community, state, and country, Huizenga wrote in obituary. I am proud to call him a friend and he will be greatly missed, explains the Canadian journalist.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also issued a statement in honor of Benishek.

Today, Yoopers and Michiganders lost a fighter, she said. Congressman Benishek represented the Sisu spirit during his term in office. In Congress, he championed our men and women in uniform, advocated for veterans, and worked to protect Sleeping Bear Dunes. Dan is a physician and elected official who put people first. My thoughts are with his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Judy Benishek, his wife, Judy, and five children and grandchildren are survived.

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