Dem Rep. Mark Takai Dies Of Cancer At Age 49

While still a Hawaii state rep, Takai played a critical part in the 2013 passage of his state’s same-sex marriage bill. He was elected to the US House in 2014. NBC News reports:

U.S. Congressman Mark Takai, who served as the representative for Hawaii’s first district, has died, NBC News has confirmed. Takai, 49, announced in May he would not seek re-election after recently learning that his pancreatic cancer has spread. Takai had planned to serve the rest of his term, which would have ended in January 2017.

In a statement to NBC News Wednesday, Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), called Takai a “true patriot, public servant, and friend.”

“Mark was a decorated war veteran and proud member of the Hawaii Army National Guard, but more importantly, he was an outstanding colleague who truly embodied the aloha spirit and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the people of Hawaii and all Americans,” Chu said.

Takai was diagnosed in October 2015 with pancreatic cancer, and underwent surgery a month later. This past January, Takai met with Vice President Joe Biden to thank him for his leadership on the fight against cancer.

From an essay Takai wrote after Hawaii’s marriage bill was signed into law:

Though some have said that they oppose the law because of their religion, I support it because of the separation of church and state. No church in Hawaii will be forced to conduct same sex marriages, but this law gives loving, committed couples the right to marry in churches that welcome them.

When I voted for marriage equality in Hawaii, I knew I wasn’t simply voting yes on a bill. I was being faithful to the Aloha State’s stand for fairness and equality.

As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard, I served alongside gay and lesbian service members who love this country as much as any of us. They fight, and some died, for our country.

When I was deployed to the Middle East in 2009, the military took care of my wife and our two children during that stressful and trying time. I believe that our military and our veterans, whether gay or straight, deserve that same support.

  • TampaZeke

    Only the good.

    Rest in peace.

  • sherman

    OMG, what a shock. RIP. Condolences to his family and friends.

  • Lazycrockett

    Fuck Cancer.

    • djcoastermark

      Amen to that, amen.

  • bkmn

    We’ve lost a good ally. RIP good man.

    • another_steve

      Sadness. Today, anything short of 90 is a life cut short.

      Our condolences to his loved ones.

      • Mary Blakely

        <<o. ✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤:::::::!ja293s:….,….

  • LovesIrony

    thank you for your support.

  • Robincho

    We’re here in Hawai’i right now. This news would be shocking anywhere, but especially so here.

    “The butterfly counts not months, but moments. And has time enough…”

    — Rabindranath Tagore

  • JustDucky
  • Ninja0980

    Sad to say but when he announced that he had pancreatic cancer, the only question left was how much time he had.
    It is a virtual death sentence and of the people I’ve known that had had it, the longest

    • JoeMyGod

      My across the hall neighbor has pancreatic cancer. Last week the super came and got me to help pick her up off her kitchen floor. About six months ago she had to stop working as an oncology nurse. She’s my age.

    • Hue-Man

      Work colleague was training for a marathon one day and dead less than three months later. I miss him all these decades later.

      • Cattleya1

        It is an evil disease. It is a death sentence. It is an awful way to go. May he rest in peace.

    • Robincho

      They don’t call it a bullet cancer for nothing… ;-(

    • yetanotherLaura

      My cousin’s husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago.

      He’s still here. Which is pretty remarkable, considering how few people survive more than a few months.

      • Ninja0980

        Long term survival is 5%.
        Glad he has beaten the odds so far and is still alive and kicking.

        • yetanotherLaura

          Thanks, you guys. Trust me, the whole family recognizes how fortunate we are to still have him. It’s not something you can ever safely feel like you’ve gone into permanent remission from, unfortunately. Maybe someday they’ll start doing pancreatic transplants for non-diabetics, too.

          I’m sorry Rep. Takai died so young. He was one of the good ones.

      • Six Pins Delores

        It is an aggressive disease. Bravo toward him

    • Nychta

      So glad Justice Ginsburg didn’t succumb. She’s one of the few.

    • JCF

      Hang on, Notorious RBG, HANG ON!!! Prayers for her healing—prayers to FIND A CURE for ALL forms of cancer…

  • Phil2u

    Pancreatic cancer is particularly ugly, too. My sympathies to his care givers.

  • BearEyes

    taken waaaaay too soon.
    RIP and Thank You

  • JustDucky

    I hope cancer gets cancer. Then dies.

    Condolences to Rep. Takai’s loved ones.

  • HZ81

    RIP and thank you, Mark.

  • Spudger

    Thank you for your service, Sir.

  • jayjonson

    Condolences to Rep. Takai’s family and friends.

  • Kelly Lape

    Another life lost too young. Condolences to his family, friends, and constituents.

  • Paula

    So young… RIP Mark.

  • NZArtist

    Cancer is a bastard.


    Rest Now.

  • Slippy_World

    Thank you for all your support -rest in peace

    • TuuxKabin

      Thank you for that. I never appreciated this song until I heard this version.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Mahalo, Mr. Takai. RIP

  • MB

    From the zenith to the horizon may your spirit grow strong and watch over your family and friends. May love eternal and light perpetual shine upon you, and now may you rest in peace and rise in glory.

    • Dumbledore

      A lovely sentiment. A bit reminiscent of the Book of Common Prayer.

      • MB

        A marriage of Hawaiian prayer and BCP prayers for the departed.

    • Menergy

      Thank you for that, MB! Thank you.

  • Nic Peterson

    Such a loss. I gave that man my financial support and my vote.

    Aloha oe.

  • olandp

    Proof that there is no God: Pat Robertson is still alive.

    • Todd20036

      We sure about that?

  • JT
    • Lazycrockett

      Lucas Black, the kid, turned into a hottie.

  • Six Pins Delores

    May all tax free church organizations die soon!

    Aloha CongressmanTakai

  • Johnny Wyeknot


  • Wynter Marie Starr

    I fucking HATE cancer.

  • MB

    I lost my dad when he was 27 to Hodgkins lymphoma, and several uncles to cancer in their 30’s, and my partner primarily to Kaposis Sarcoma and CMV when there were no treatments whatsoever. His poor body could not fight HIV/CMV and cancer simultaneously.

    I am thankful to Rep. Takai for his courage and his support, and to Vice-President Biden for his leadership in raising the flag and declaring war on cancer.

    • billbear1961
      • TuuxKabin

        Thank you Billbear. Thank you. From both of us.

        • billbear1961

          Not the kind of Christianity on display at the GOP convention, is it??


          • TuuxKabin

            No. There is nothing even civilized there.

          • billbear1961

            Ah, but our valiant “journalists” pretend that they are respectable and reasonable, that they aren’t vile, evil, hateful maniacs.

            The media do such a superb job defending genuine democracy and common decency, don’t they?

            I despise them–they conspire with EVIL.

          • TuuxKabin

            For the death of Mark Takai, and what you write I am crying even harder. So many tears this summer.

          • billbear1961

            It is intolerable, the threat we are forced to live under–INTOLERABLE.

            I will NEVER recognize the “authority” of ANYONE or ANYTHING to do what these lying GANGSTERS have in mind.

            They will NOT destroy this democracy and strip MILLIONS of their rights.

            NOTHING can give them that right, because such a right does not exist ANYWHERE, certainly NOT in a TRUE democracy.

            NOTHING can authorize, justify or legitimize the ugly CRIMES they have in mind.

          • billbear1961

            I won’t forget their threats, EVER, or the FAILURE of the press to hold them ACCOUNTABLE.

        • MB

          Yes, indeed.
          Where charity and love are….may we love each other with a sincere heart… and let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease.

  • a thing nobody old, like most of this blog, wants to talk about is the poison in our environment. i’ll skip the fads, arguments, science, and other angles. i’m not trying to take a position here, other than a basic one i came to understand as a young girl first studying our planet.

    nice, good people with wealth and position are dying young from weird things that didn’t used to kill people. in the past, poverty and hunger and disease killed people. today, we’ve overcome a lot of that. what we have not overcome is an environment like our modern one, filled to the brim (including the oceans) with scum, filth and disease. also: imbalance. the wild life that eats minimal amounts of garbage and helps keeps the environment balanced, they are overcome by human contributions.

    skin cancer, liver cancer, sexparts cancer… other diseases and disorders. that just have, well, sprung up. i’m not into to meta-statistics but i’d love to look at some about this issue. and i hate statistics. still, i’ll look at the data and wonder about what is killing modern people, more than it used to. young deaths like this always make me suspicious.

  • Webster

    I hate it when the truly good leave us far too soon — and when the useless and hatefilled, like Pat Robertson, linger on and on poisoning humanity…

  • billbear1961
  • TuuxKabin

    Such a loss to family, colleagues, constituents and the nation. Below is his WDC contact information. His web site only seems to be accepting email from zip codes in Hawaii.

    RIP kind and good sir. Aloha.


    422 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-2726
    Fax: (202) 225-0688

  • PiperPine

    This is incredibly sad. I had family members who volunteered for his campaign and most of my extended family gave money to support him. He was a kind man and a good politician. I did not know him personally but I respected him and my family is is mourning.

  • MarkBuster

    A well spent life. So sorry he had P.C… it’s about the most painful thing around. 🙁

  • JCF

    RIP. Memory eternal.

    “Only the Good Die Young”

  • RobynWatts

    Heartfelt condolences to Rep. Takai’s family, friends, colleagues, not to mention the people of Hawaii. He will be missed.😞

  • Dale Snyder

    49. This makes me so sad. I started living life in the fast lane when I was 13 and haven’t stopped. My sister, an athlete, barely survived anal cancer at 51 – my age now. I should’ve been dead years ago.

    I’m guessing the reason I’m still here is that my work in the horse racing industry requires me to be on my feet and moving at least 8 hours a day, fighting 1,000 pound beasts all morning. I’m 6’1″ and weigh 175, but I see my friends in office jobs literally obese. I do believe constant exercise adds years to one’s life.

    Oh, and fuck cancer!