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NLM Mourns Loss of Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii

Long-Term Legislator and WWII Hero Appears in Library's Native Voices Exhibition

Senator Daniel K. InouyeFormer United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye died December 17, 2012 of respiratory complications. He was 88.

Respected for his leadership in civil rights, disability rights, and health care, Inouye was the President pro tempore of the Senate from 2010 until his death, making him third in the presidential line of succession after the Vice President and Speaker of the House of Representatives. A senator since 1963, Inouye was the most senior senator at the time of his death and the second-longest serving US Senator in history, after Robert Byrd. He was also the highest-ranking Asian American politician in US history. He continuously represented Hawaii in the US Congress since it achieved statehood in 1959, serving as the state's first US Representative from 1959 to 1963. He was also a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroism during World War II.

Sen. Inouye came to national attention during his service on the Senate Watergate Committee. Inouye was also involved in the Iran-Contra investigations of the 1980s, chairing a special committee from 1987 to 1989. The New York Times, in its obituary, called Sen. Inouye "the quiet voice of national conscience" during those historic hearings.

Among other Senate leadership positions, he chaired the Committee on Indian Affairs from 1987 to 1995 and from 2001 to 2003. He was also chairman of the Committee on Appropriations from 2009 until his death.

For his knowledge of Native American affairs and his close involvement with Native Hawaiian culture, Sen. Inouye is featured in the NLM exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness, currently on view in Bethesda, Maryland and also online. Exhibition content can also be viewed via a free iPad app, available by searching "NLM Native Voices" on the Apple iTunes Store.

In a 2011 interview for Native Voices with NLM Director Dr. Donald Lindberg, Sen. Inouye expressed his concern about improving the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians and all Americans. He also discussed the success in Hawaii of blending traditional healing with Western medicine.

This and other excerpts of his interview appear at:

Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the National Library of Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is the world's largest medical library.