Former Hawaii lawmaker Rod Tam dies from leukemia

Rod Tam died Wednesday from complications of Leukemia.
Rod Tam died Wednesday from complications of Leukemia.(HNN File (custom credit))
Published: May. 16, 2019 at 6:32 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii politician Rod Tam has died.

His wife Lynette confirmed his passing for Hawaii News Now late Wednesday night.

Tam reportedly died from complications from leukemia.

“Honestly, I’m kind of in shock,” said Tam’s former aide Shawn Hamamoto. He met Tam 20 years ago.

“We thought he was kind of crazy at the time, but he would give his cellphone out to anybody - to people he just met,” said Hamamoto. “It was really extraordinary the lengths he would to through to try to help people.”

Tam spent three decades in office between the House, Senate, and Honolulu city council.

His political career however was overshadowed by a run-in with the law and brief time spent behind bars.

In 2011, he was arrested for stealing money from the city to cover personal meals. According to this HNN report from 2011, Tam faced up to a year in jail for charging the city about $15,000 for non-business meals.

He then faced added charges stemming from a state Campaign Spending Commission investigation.

In 2016, Tam tried to make a political comeback with a run for the Hawaii Senate, but lost to Karl Rhoads.

Tam’s wife said he’d been active until this past January when doctors gave him the sudden diagnosis.

They were preparing to head to Seattle for treatment when he died Wednesday.

He was 65 years old. Tam also leaves behind two children.

This story will be updated.

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