- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Former Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton died Monday night. The 81-year-old Democrat served as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during part of his 34-year career in Congress.

He died surrounded by his family at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, though the cause of death is unclear, Fox News reported.

“He was beloved and respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Ike was a devoted advocate for our men and women in uniform,” the president said in a statement released late Monday night. “To many in Congress and across Missouri, Ike was a mentor and a friend, and he will be missed.”

Other politicians also released statements and posted on social media to express sympathies over the congressman’s passing.

“Tonight Missouri lost one of her favorite sons. My friend Ike Skelton loved this country and its military more than words can describe,” wrote Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, on Twitter.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said he saw Mr. Skelton’s “deep-rooted Missouri values up close” during the nearly 30 years the two served together in Congress.

Ike was an incredible soul, a caring man who loved service and championed all who gave of themselves for their country and communities,” Mr. Hoyer said in a statement.

Mr. Skelton is the third former representative to die in October. Former Speaker Tom Foley and Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who was still serving at the time of his death, died earlier this month.