Rep. Dan Daniel (D-Va.) died Saturday at University of Virginia Hospital. He was 73.
Hospital spokesman Tom Doran confirmed that Daniel died about 5:30 p.m. The congressman was admitted to the hospital earlier in the day, but officials initially did not say why.
Daniel, the son of a Virginia tenant farmer, spent nine terms in the House of Representatives championing a strong defense and decrying the weakening of America at home and abroad.
A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Daniel won reelection time after time with little effort despite charges from detractors that he was insensitive to issues that affected blacks and the poor.
Daniel was also embroiled in controversy in 1986 when it was revealed that he had accepted free airplane trips from Beech Aircraft Corp., a defense contractor whose plans Daniel promoted in Congress.
The House Ethics Committee did not punish Daniel but found that he broke House rules governing travel and gifts, improperly billed the government for travel expenses and filed false financial disclosure forms.
Daniel, who said he did not understand the House rules, reimbursed Beech for the trips, paid $1,300 to the government for improper auto mileage vouchers and amended his financial disclosure forms.