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Rep. Norwood dies from lung disease, cancer

Rep. Charles Norwood, a seven-term Republican congressman from Georgia, has died after battling cancer and lung disease, his office says.
Meet The Press
Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-GA, died from lung disease and cancer a week after deciding to forgo further medical treatment..Alex Wong / Getty Images for Meet the Press
/ Source: The Associated Press

Georgia Republican Congressman Charlie Norwood has died after battling cancer and lung disease.

He was 65.

Norwood's death comes a week after he returned home to begin hospice care for metastatic lung cancer, which had spread to his liver.

At that time, Norwood's spokesman, John Stone, said the seven-term Republican was not yet resigning from Congress but had decided to go home to Augusta, Ga., to be with his family and "put it in the Lord's hands."

"He has spent three months just sick as a dog and finally just said, 'That's it. I'm going home,'" Stone said. The goal, Stone said, was to make Norwood as comfortable as he can be, "for as long as the Lord will let him stay with us, and nobody knows how long that will be."

He won his seventh term in November with almost 70 percent of the vote.

Democratic House leaders made the announcement during a news conference on the resolution against the president's troop buildup in Iraq.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called Norwood "an honest, hardworking gentleman of conscience."

Norwood won two Bronze Stars as a combat dentist in the Vietnam War.

There was a brief moment of silence on the House floor after Norwood's death was announced there.

Norwood received a lung transplant in 2004 and suffered from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease.

Last year, doctors discovered a small cancerous tumor on his nontransplanted lung. They removed the cancer with surgery but then discovered more on his liver when Norwood returned to Washington after his November re-election.

Norwood, a folksy dentist, never held public office before winning a seat in Congress in 1994.

Democrats have a 233-202 majority in the House, so Norwood's loss will not have a significant effect on the balance of power.

In his State of the Union address last month, President Bush wished Norwood a speedy recovery.