Courtesy Fox News:
WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Lantos, who as a teenager twice escaped from a Nazi-run forced labor camp in Hungary and became the only Holocaust survivor to win a seat in Congress, has died. He was 80.
Spokeswoman Lynne Weil said Lantos, a Californian, died early Monday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in suburban Maryland. He was surrounded by his wife, Annette, two daughters, and many of his 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Annette Lantos said in a statement that her husband's life was "defined by courage, optimism, and unwavering dedication to his principles and to his family."
Lantos, a Democrat who chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee, disclosed last month that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He said at the time that he would serve out his 14th term but would not seek re-election in his Northern California district, which takes in the southwest portion of San Francisco and suburbs to the south including Lantos' home of San Mateo.
President Bush praised Lantos in a statement as "a man of character and a champion of human rights."
"After immigrating to America more than six decades ago, he worked to help oppressed people around the world have the opportunity to live in freedom," Bush said. "As the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, Tom was a living reminder that we must never turn a blind eye to the suffering of the innocent at the hands of evil men."
Flags were lowered to half-staff at the White House and U.S. Capitol.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "Tom Lantos was a true American hero. He was the embodiment of what it meant to have one's freedom denied and then to find it and to insist that America stand for spreading freedom and prosperity to others."
Speaking to reporters at the State Department, she said, "He was also a dear, dear friend and I am personally quite devastated by his loss."