Christopher Dingell remembers his father, the longest serving congressman in history

John Dingell speaks at a 2013 press conference

When Michigan Congressman John Dingell came to Congress, Dwight Eisenhower was president.

He was first elected in 1955, serving in the House of Representatives for the next 59 years.

"One of the advantages to knowing that your demise is imminent, and that reports of it will not be greatly exaggerated, is that you have a few moments to compose some parting thoughts", Dingell said Thursday.

"M$3 uch as I have found Twitter to be a useful means of expression, some occasions merit more than 280 characters", he said, a sly nod to his penchant for burning President Donald Trump on the social media network.

The Detroit Democrat was diagnosed a year ago with prostate cancer that had metastasized and he chose to forgo treatment.

In an acknowledgement of his legacy, President Trump had flags lowered to half-staff.

Friends and colleagues continue their tributes to the late U.S. Congressman John Dingell. Generally a strong advocate for environmental protection, he was also an unwavering supporter of the auto industry and argued against environmental regulations for vehicle makers. "In 2010, it was my privilege to hold that same gavel as we passed the Affordable Care Act".

Former President George W. Bush said he was fortunate to speak to Dingell Thursday afternoon.

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With the expansion of Twitter, Dingell became known for his commentary on current events through snarky and sometimes hard-hitting tweets that often went viral.

The former lawmaker's wife, Debbie Dingell, who was elected to succeed him, was with him when he died peacefully at home in MI, her office said.

In a Washington Post opinion piece, Dingell mentioned issues such as pollution, the consumption of hazardous foods, drugs and chemicals, and racial discrimination that plagued America's history.

Dingell dictated a tweet for his wife to write: "I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers".

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a joint statement that Dingell "represented the people of MI with honor, integrity, great good humor, and an unequaled ability to get good legislation passed".

He has also become active on Twitter in his retirement, regularly tweeting about politics and the University of MI football team he loves.

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by former congressman John Dingell, marks the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill on July 29, 2015 in Washington, DC.

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