PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania state Rep. Anthony M. “Tony” DeLuca (D-Penn Hills) died on Sunday, Oct. 9, after a brief battle with lymphoma, according to a release posted by his office and the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus. He was 85.

DeLuca represented the 32nd legislative district for 39 years, the release says. He served as the Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee and was passionate about advocating for patients, ensuring medical professional accountability, and guaranteeing patient safety.

DeLuca beat lymphoma twice previously. After he was diagnosed for the first time and his late wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, he became a vocal advocate for cancer awareness and early detection, supporting legislation to increase cancer research funding and improve treatment procedures and patient care, the release says.

“While others his age retired and enjoyed their golden years, DeLuca remained deeply committed to his legislative responsibilities – serving his constituents, particularly seniors and families, and being a staunch supporter and defender of labor unions and firefighters. Until just a few days before his death, he remotely participated in House floor sessions and voted on legislation,” the release says.

In addition to the House Insurance Committee, DeLuca served on the Democratic Policy Committee and was a member of several caucuses including Autism, Cancer, Firefighters and Emergency Services, Mental Health, Sportsmen, and Steel, the Democratic Caucus reports. He was also one of the original co-founders of the PA Legislative American-Italian Caucus, the release notes.

According to the release, DeLuca started in politics by serving on the Penn Hills Government Study Commission. He also worked as a Penn Hills councilman and as the Penn Hills deputy mayor before being elected to the House.