North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) died Sunday on his 76th birthday. “After faithfully representing the people of Eastern North Carolina in Congress and the state legislature for over 34 years, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) passed away this afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina,” a statement on his website said. The congressman had been in hospice care in recent weeks after breaking his hip on Jan. 14, CNN reports.
Jones first took office in 1994,and served five terms as a Democrat before switching parties. He was best known for his profound regret over voting in support of the Iraq War. “I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam (Hussein) being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction,” he said in 2015, The News & Observer notes. “Because I did not do my job then, I helped kill 4,000 Americans, and I will go to my grave regretting that.” After his change of heart, he signed more than 11,000 letters to families of slain soldiers, in what he described to the Associated Press as “penance.”