Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson died on Wednesday in Lufkin. He was 76.
Updated: Thursday, 11 Feb 2010, 8:51 AM CST
Published : Thursday, 11 Feb 2010, 8:49 AM CST
LUFKIN, Texas (KXAN/AP) - Charlie Wilson, the former U.S. congressman from Texas whose funding of Afghanistan's resistance to the Soviet Union was chronicled in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War," has died.
He was 76.
A hopsital spokeswoman in Lufkin said Wilson died Wednesday of cardiopulmonary arrest.
Wilson represented the 2nd district in East Texas in the U.S. House from 1973 to 1996. He was the subject of the movie starring Tom Hanks in 2007.
The film was about Wilson's efforts to arm Afghani mujahedeen during their war against the Soviet Union. Wilson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, helped secure money for weapons.
Wilson was known as "Good Time Charlie" when he was in Washington.
The Texas Democratic Party released this statement on Wilson's passing:
"Many Texans like to think of themselves as larger than life, and Charlie Wilson truly was. Although much was written about “good time Charlie”, he was more than a good public servant – he was a great public servant. Even Tom Hanks couldn’t capture everything that was Charlie. In both Austin and Washington, Charlie represented his East Texas constituents with a commitment that was absolute and he always stood tall for Texas. Whether he was standing up for Texans here at home or those serving in the far corners of the globe, he was a great asset to our state and nation and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, sent the following statement: "America has lost a true political hero. Charlie Wilson's convictions and courage as a member of Congress helped thwart the advancement of the Soviet Red Army into the Middle East during the Cold War. Charlie will be remembered for his commitment to preserving the liberties of our allies, and for his actions that helped slow down the Communist regime, which eventually was brought to its knees under Ronald Reagan."
Hank Gilbert, who is running for Agriculture Commissioner, released the following statement: "As it has to many East Texans, news of the death of Rep. Charlie Wilson came as a blow to me. His drive to free Afghanistan is a testament to the adage that one person can make a difference. His prescient desire to help rebuild that nation will long be remembered by all who seek to win the peace that must inevitably follow conflict. Karla and I will keep Mrs. Wilson in our thoughts and prayers. To our departed friend and fellow Democrat, Godspeed."
Gov. Perry released a statement on Wilson's death: "Charlie Wilson led a life that was over-sized even by Hollywood’s standards. Congressman Wilson was fiercely devoted to serving his country and his fellow Texans. Anita and I extend our sincere condolences and prayers to his family and friends."