AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A family member says the nation's oldest World War II veteran who was also believed to be oldest living man in the U.S. has died in Texas.
Richard Overton. (File)
Richard Overton was 112.
Shirley Overton, whose husband was Richard's cousin, says the Army veteran died Thursday evening at a rehab facility in Austin.
Overton had been recently hospitalized with pneumonia.
Overton was in his 30s when he volunteered for the Army and was at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese attack in 1941.
He once said that one secret to his long life was smoking cigars and drinking whiskey, which he often was found doing on the porch of his Austin home.
In 2013, he was honored by former President Barack Obama at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, issued a statement expressing sympathy to Overton's family.
“Throughout my time in Congress, I have had the honor of getting to know Mr. Overton very well - sitting on his porch and listening to him tell stories are memories I will never forget. I am thankful for his service to our country, and I am eternally grateful to have had him in my life as a friend and role model. I will miss him dearly and will continue to pray for his family during this difficult time.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Overton "an American icon and a Texas legend."
"With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him. Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans. We can never repay Richard Overton for his service to our nation and for his lasting impact on the Lone Star State," he said.