TAMPA, Fla. - Former Florida Congressman Sam M. Gibbons, who served 17 consecutive terms and rose to head the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has died. He was 92.
His son Tim Gibbons says the former congressman died suddenly late Tuesday or early Wednesday at a Tampa retirement home.
Gibbons, who never lost an election, was among the Tampa Bay region's best known politicians. He is considered the "father" of the University of South Florida for pushing through legislation to create the school while serving in the Florida Legislature in the 1950s.
Gibbons retired from Congress in 1997 at the age of 76, serving 34 years in what many called an unblemished political career.