Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette dies at age 62

CLEVELAND (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette died Wednesday night at age 62 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to his former chief of staff.

Dino Disanto said LaTourette died at his home in McLean, Virginia, surrounded by his family.

LaTourette represented northeast Ohio’s 19th Congressional District and then the 14th Congressional District from 1995 to 2013. He was a member of the Republican Party, but was generally regarded as a moderate. Before being elected to Congress, LaTourette served as Lake County prosecutor from 1989 to 1995.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said LaTourette was known for his bipartisanship and ability to get things done.

“He was a proud son of Cleveland, a tough prosecutor and an effective legislator who could find common ground with just about anyone,” Portman said in a statement. “But I will miss him most of all as a good friend with a great sense of humor.”

LaTourette was a supporter of infrastructure spending, Amtrak and congressional set-asides known as earmarks.

When he announced his retirement, LaTourette said he was sick of the partisanship that had taken over Congress.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said LaTourette was quite simply “one of a kind.” He said he believes northeast Ohio and the country as a whole are better because of his leadership.

“Another one of the good guys is gone too soon. We need more people like Steve LaTourette in public service,” Borges said in a statement.

In May 2015, LaTourette filed a claim against the government over the treatment he received from his Capitol doctors, claiming they failed to pass along critical information about a lesion on his pancreas and the need for follow-up monitoring. The filing was the first step toward a lawsuit.

LaTourette received his medical care from Capitol physicians over his 18-year congressional career. In 2012 he went to the hospital with gastrointestinal pain, which was diagnosed as pancreatitis. An MRI revealed a small lesion on his pancreas and the radiologist told a Capitol physician that follow-up imaging needed to be done in six months, according to LaTourette’s filing with the court.

But LaTourette said he was never told of the MRI’s results or the need to get another.

LaTourette retired in early 2013. When his pain returned in 2014, he saw private doctors and learned the mass had grown significantly and was cancerous.

LaTourette leaves behind his wife Jennifer and six children including Ohio state Rep. Sarah LaTourette.