LISBON - Former Congressman Charlie Wilson died Sunday afternoon in a Florida hospital following complications associated with a stroke suffered in February.
The 70-year-old Wilson, who served as a U.S. representative from 2006 through 2010 for the Congressional district that included Columbiana County, died at 2:30 p.m. with his family at his side.
Wilson suffered a stroke on Feb. 21 while vacationing in Florida and was undergoing rehabilitation at a Florida facility when he suffered a fatal hemorrhage.
The Wilson family released the following statement:
"Throughout his extraordinary life, Congressman Wilson was motivated by a desire to serve his country and a passion for the causes most important to the constituents of southeast and east Ohio. Congressman Wilson served with honor and dignity and an unwavering sense of civic responsibility to the families of our region. Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach, and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations. For 14 years, southeast and eastern Ohio had a champion serving as their voice in Columbus and Washington, and our communities are better places for his service."
The family asks any contributions be made in Wilson's memory to the Congressman Charlie Wilson Leadership Program, care of Ohio University Eastern Campus, Dean's Office, 45425 National Road West, St. Clairsville, Ohio, 43950.
Wilson, a Democrat, served in the Ohio House from 1996-2004 and in the Ohio Senate from 2004 until his election to Congress in 2006. He served two terms before losing in 2010 to Republican Bill Johnson. Wilson also lost in a 2012 rematch to Rep. Johnson, who also issued a statement on his former opponent's passing:
"LeeAnn and I were saddened to hear of the passing of former Congressman Charlie Wilson. Although Charlie and I were political opponents, we were never enemies. He served with honor in the Ohio state legislature and in Congress. We will be making a contribution in his memory to the scholarship fund named for him at Ohio University Eastern and we encourage others to do so, as well. May God's healing and grace be with Charlie Wilson's family in this time of sorrow."'
Wilson was born in 1943 in Dillonvale and operated a funeral home and furniture business before becoming involved in politics.
He is survived by four sons and nine grandchildren. One of his sons, Jason Wilson, a former state senator representing the county and currently director of the Governor's Office of Appalachia, lives in Columbiana.
Funeral arrangements are not complete.