Walter Jones died on Sunday at age 76, according to a statement on the congressman's website.
"I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction", Jones told North Carolina radio host Tyler Cralle in 2015.
"Walter Jones was a man of decency, honor, and upstanding moral character", said North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes, who used to serve in Congress with Mr. Jones. He first ran for Congress in 1992 as a Democrat, attempting to fill the seat of his father Walter Jones Sr., who served in Congress for over 25 years, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. However, he underwent surgery for a broken hip on January 15 and his office announced on January 26 that he had entered hospice. Jones was among the House members who led a campaign that resulted in the chamber's cafeteria offering "freedom fries" and "freedom toast" - instead of French fries and French toast.
After the Iraq War ended, Jones continued with his stance on deployed troops overseas, becoming a major supporter for pulling servicemen out of Afghanistan.
Jones was known for his independence, the statement said.
"Congressman Jones was a man of the people". The fiscal and social conservative won unopposed in last November's general election after fending off Republican primary challengers stoked partly by Jones' willingness to dissent from the Washington leaders of his party. During his tenure, our state and country went through important trials and came out stronger because of his work.
Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said Jones was the true embodiment of a public servant. He was a proud representative of eastern North Carolina, and the residents of North Carolina's Third Congressional District are better off thanks to the lifelong service and dedication of Walter Jones.
"He always did what he felt was right for his constituents, his district, and his country, and it was no wonder why he was so widely admired and trusted".
"For me, it's a sacred responsibility that I have to communicate my condolences to a family", Jones said.
Gov. Roy Cooper took to Twitter.
Walter Beamon Jones Jr. was born in Farmville in 1943.