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State Rep. David Dill dies after battle with cancer

State Rep. David Dill, a Democrat from Crane Lake, died Saturday after a short battle with cancer.

ST. PAUL — State Rep. David Dill, who represented northeastern Minnesota and focused much of his legislative efforts on mining, outdoor recreation, the environment and natural resources, died after a short battle with cancer. He was 60.

Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, died Saturday night after getting the diagnosis only a month ago, said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Bakk, who said he received word of Dill's death from his wife and son, said Dill's organs ultimately shut down from the chemotherapy treatments.

"He was as hard of working member of the state house as I've ever seen," Bakk said Sunday of his friend. "He always put his constituents first."

Dill represented Koochiching, northern St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties, since 2002. He was re-elected in November with more than 65 percent of the vote in a district that is the largest in the state by area. Dill, chairman of the Lands Subcommittee, also worked on agriculture finance and economic development issues.

Gov. Mark Dayton released a statement Sunday, saying he would miss Dill. "David was deeply committed to Minnesota. As a legislator, he advocated tirelessly for the best interests of his district and the general welfare our state."


Dayton will likely call a special election to fill Dill's seat.

Dill was also a consultant, commercial pilot and an aircraft and power plant mechanic. He and his son Drake operated Thunderhook Fly-ins, a fly-in fishing guide service in northwestern Ontario, based about 350 miles from Crane Lake.

Before being elected to his first of seven terms in the House, Dill served as city administrator for the town of Orr for 11 years.

Dill suffered for years from diabetes and tackled that illness in 2008 by undergoing gastric-bypass surgery and losing more than 150 pounds. The diabetes led to kidney problems, and in 2010 he received a new kidney. He later had a pacemaker implanted to counter an irregular heartbeat.

Besides his son, Dill is also survived by his wife, Tucky.

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