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Presidents and politicians on Thursday paid tribute to John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress, as a leader who had an extraordinary record of legislative achievement — with a work ethic and sense of humor to match. “Today, we have lost a beloved pillar of the Congress and one of the greatest legislators in American history," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Dingell, who died Thursday at 92, in a statement. "John Dingell leaves a towering legacy of unshakable strength, boundless energy and transformative leadership." Former President Barack Obama, who Dingell sat next to when he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, said the lawmaker's legacy "reminds us that change does not always come with a flash, but instead with steady, determined effort." "Over the course of the longest congressional career in history, John led the charge on so much of the progress we take for granted today," Obama said in a statement. "He had a long tradition of introducing legislation on the first day of each new Congress to guarantee health care for every single American. Because of him, we’ve come closer to that vision than ever before. And when we finally achieve it – and we will – we’ll all owe him our gratitude." Former President George W. Bush said he spoke to Dingell on Thursday and thanked the former congressman "for being an example to those who have followed him into the public arena." "He was a gentleman who showed great respect for our country and her people," Bush said, in a statement. "He represented his district with decency and honor." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer remembered his friend as a "giant," adding that Dingell "was a man of indefatigable spirit who loved life, the lovely Deborah his wife, and the House of Representatives." "None of us who were close to him will ever forget John’s positive attitude, his humor, his pride in both his Polish roots and his service in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, his love of America, and his abiding belief in working across the aisle to achieve results through consensus." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Dingell left "a lasting impression with everyone he met." Fellow Michiganders remembered Dingell, who first came to Capitol Hill as a page when his father, John Dingell Sr., was elected to Congress, as a gritty, determined lawmaker who found a way to forge deals with Republicans. "The Congressman’s grit, humility and humor taught us all that we can disagree without being disagreeable, while still finding common ground and working together to get things done," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wrote on Twitter. Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden, who chaired the Energy and Commerce Committee before Democrats retook the House in November, added: "John Dingell was a giant. His fingerprints are on countless pieces of legislation that form the framework for our country, and no one told a better story. He will be missed but he will never be forgotten." For a new generation of lawmakers who were unable to serve with Dingell, the retired "Dean of Congress" shared his thoughts and wit with the world through Twitter, where he opined to his more than 250,000 followers on everything from the Kardashians and Michigan football to President Donald Trump. "One day I hope to be as cool as @JohnDingell," Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.) wrote on Twitter. One of his former colleagues, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) poignantly recalled the advice the elder gave him when he was first elected. "When I got to Congress, John sat me down to give me advice: 'You’re not important. It’s what you can now do to help others that’s important," Deutch said. 'If you never forget that, you’ll do fine.' "John never forgot, and he helped millions. A very fine life indeed." Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine