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Former Ohio Congressman Wilson dies

Former U.S. congressman Charlie Wilson arrives at the world premiere of the film "Charlie Wilson's War" in Los Angeles, California December
Former U.S. congressman Charlie Wilson arrives at the world premiere of the film "Charlie Wilson's War" in Los Angeles, California December

By Kim Palmer

AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Former Ohio Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson has died from complications from a stroke he suffered during a vacation in Florida in February, the Ohio Democratic party said on Monday.

Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said Wilson died on Sunday in Florida.

"An outspoken advocate for working people, Charlie never wavered in his service to his constituents or his lifelong pursuit to help improve the lives of others, Redfern said in a statement.

Wilson, born 1943 in Dillonvale, Ohio, was a member of the Ohio Legislature for 10 years in both the state house of representatives (from 1997 to 2004) and the state senate (from 2005 to 2007). He represented the 6th district, a coal-heavy swath of land spanning the southeast border of the state consisting of many small once-industrial towns.

Wilson won a historic write-in campaign for Congress in 2006. After falling short of the necessary number of signatures to appear on the Democratic primary ballot he launched a massive write-in campaign that won him more than 66 percent of the Democratic primary vote. He went on to defeat Republican Chuck Blasdell and replaced Rep. Ted Strickland (D) who ran for governor and won that year. He lost two races to Republicans in 2010 and 2012.

According to a family statement, Wilson, 70 suffered a fatal hemorrhage while he was in recovery at the Cornell Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine in Florida. The statement also said his family was at his side at the time of his death.

Wilson worked as a small businessman and as a member of the United Auto Workers union on the assembly line at the Ford Automotive auto plant in Lorain, Ohio while attending Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Wilson is survived by four sons and nine grandchildren.

(The previous version of this story was sent with an incorrect photo)

(Reporting By Greg McCune; editing by Andrew Hay)

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