Former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX), a swashbuckling Congressman immortalized in the book and movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” died Wednesday in Lufkin, TX. He was 76.
Known mostly for partying philandering while in Congress, Wilson secured the nickname “Goodtime Charlie.” But the book and film about his efforts to covertly arm the Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s ingrained Wilson’s name in the American consciousness.
Tom Hanks played Wilson in the 2007 film, directed by Mike Nichols.
Wilson had a heart transplant that same year.
Yana Ogletree, the director of media relations at the Memorial Health System of East Texas, says Wilson was at a meeting Wednesday morning in Lufkin with his friend Buddy Temple. The former Congressman started to have trouble breathing. Temple then drove Wilson to the hospital and flagged down an ambulance while en route. The ambulance then drove Wilson to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 12:16 pm CT.
Ogletree says the cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest.
In recent years, the late Wilson was often confused with Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-OH), first elected in 2006. The two are not related and never served in Congress together. In a case of mistaken identity, hundreds of reporters from around the globe pelted the office of the current Congressman Wilson with requests for interviews and comment after the movie hit the big screen in 2007.