Embattled Rep. John Murtha dead at 77 

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., died this afternoon, media outlets are reporting.

Murtha died at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., after suffering complications that followed gallbladder surgery. He was 77.

Murtha chaired the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee and was known for bringing millions of dollars in earmarks back to his district over the years. Murtha was one of the most powerful opponents of the war in Iraq and he once ran for House Majority Leader, losing to Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., despite an endorsement from longtime political ally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Watchdog groups have criticized Murtha's use of earmarks as well as his ties to a now-defunct lobbying company under investigation by federal officials.

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