Former U.S. Rep. Sam M. Gibbons, a Florida Democrat who served 17 terms in Congress and rose to head the House Ways and Means Committee, has died. He was 92.
His son Tim Gibbons says the former congressman died peacefully late Tuesday or early Wednesday at a Tampa retirement home.
Elected in 1962, Gibbons never lost an election and 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.