FILE – In a Monday, Feb. 21, 1983 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, left, leaves a food shelf store in Gilbert, Minnesota, with U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who served northeastern Minnesota for 36 years, died in his sleep Saturday, May 3, 2014, according to a statement from his family. He was 79. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who represented northeastern Minnesota for 36 years and brought millions of dollars to the state as chair of the powerful House Transportation Committee, died unexpectedly early Saturday. He was 79.
A statement released by his family said Oberstar died in his sleep. A cause of death was not provided. His former chief of staff, Bill Richard, said Oberstar died at his home in Potomac, Maryland.
Richard said Oberstar was not ill. Oberstar’s family said it was heartbroken.
“Jim was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and brother,” the family statement said. “While we mourn the loss of a good man, we also celebrate his life and his service. We ask for your thoughts and prayers, and understanding, at this very difficult time.”
Oberstar, a Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1974 and served 18 terms — the state’s longest-serving member of Login to read more