HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A year ago, U.S. Mark Takai died after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In honor of his legacy, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard gave a heartwarming speech on the house floor Thursday.
"My friend, Congressman Mark Takai was someone who lived his entire life with a full heart committed to serving the people of Hawaii and his country," Gabbard said.
Takai was elected at just 27 and served two decades before making the move to Washington, D.C. in 2014. The long-time state legislator served in the Hawaii Army National Guard for 17 years.
He also swam for the University of Hawaii from 1985 to 1989, and was a fierce supporter of the school throughout his political career.
He was just 49 years old when he died.
"Mark, time and time again, made his decisions based on how best he could serve the people of Hawaii," Gabbard told Hawaii News Now before taking the floor. "Mark led by example with respect, with aloha, understanding and passion – building partnerships focusing on how he could get the job done."
Takai was a man of great dedication to his people who left a lasting legacy for many to follow.
Throughout Hawaii, several facilities have since been named in his honor, most recently the K. Mark Takai Pacific Warfighting Center.
"It's a bittersweet moment to recognize this day – the one year anniversary of Mark's passing," Gabbard said to the House. "From the beginning ... through every step of his life my colleague and my friend made decisions and took action on how he could best serve Hawaii and how he could best serve our country. We miss him very much."