DETROIT -- Guy Vander Jagt, a former Republican congressman and party leader from western Michigan, died Friday. He was 75.
Vander Jagt died at a Washington, D.C., hospice and suffered from pancreatic cancer for about 1 1/2 years, said Steve Lotterer, a longtime top aide.
Vander Jagt, a lawyer who began his political career in 1964 as a state senator, served the U.S. House from 1966 to 1993. He served for 18 years as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and held various leadership posts, including the second-ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.
He was tapped by Ronald Reagan to deliver the keynote address to the Republican National Convention in Detroit in 1980.
"He will be fondly remembered for his longtime public service and advancing the cause of the Republican Party," U.S. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, said in a statement. Hoekstra defeated Vander Jagt in the 1992 Republican primary.
Since then, Vander Jagt has been a public speaker and lobbyist. He was of counsel at Washington-based law firm Baker Hostetler, serving as one of the leaders of the firm's national Federal Policy Group.
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