CHICAGO – The chief of staff for Sen. Mark Kirk says longtime Illinois U.S. Rep. Phil Crane has died of lung cancer in Virginia. He was of 84.
Eric Elk says Crane died Saturday night surrounded by his children at his daughter's home. Elk served on Crane's staff when he was in Congress.
Crane represented Chicago's far northwest suburbs for 35 years and was the longest-serving House Republican when he was defeated in 2004 by Democrat and then-political newcomer Melissa Bean.
The conservative was first elected to Congress in 1969 when a young Illinois congressman -- Donald Rumsfeld -- left to work for the Nixon administration. Crane made his name as an anti-tax crusader and ran for president in 1980.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Arlene, and a daughter.