John Dingell was a powerful and outspoken Democrat who served for a record 59 years in Congress (CHIP SOMODEVILLA)

Washington (AFP) – John Dingell, an imposing and outspoken Democrat who became a powerful figure in Washington over the course of a record 59 years in Congress, has died at the age of 92.

The death of former House member Dingell, who retired in 2015, was announced by his wife Debbie Dingell, who succeeded him in their district in the car-making region of Michigan.

In recent years, in retirement, he was known for stinging criticism of President Donald Trump.

Dingell was scathing, for instance, towards the end of last month’s partial government shutdown prompted by Trump’s dispute with Democrat lawmakers over his proposed border wall.

“Crooks like Trump will steal a hot stove and come back for the smoke. There’s no bar too low,” he wrote on Twitter on January 24.

Dingell was an imposing figure. He stood 6-foot-3 (1.9 metres), weighed 200 pounds and had a booming voice.

He was a long-serving committee chairman who helped shape US legislation on everything from energy and health care to telecommunications and consumer protection.

Dingell served with 11 presidents and cast 28,551 votes, CNN said, quoting the House historian’s office.

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