AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Richard Overton, the nation’s oldest living World War II veteran, has died at the age of 112.
Earlier this month, Overton was hospitalized with pneumonia, but he was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve.
His family says he died from complications from the illness.
Overton was born in Bastrop County, Texas and was inducted into the U.S. military on September 3, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Austin CBS affiliate KEYE-TV reported.
He served in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945, including stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima during World War II. He left the U.S. Army in October 1945.
Overton also worked at local furniture stores before taking a position with the Texas Department of the Treasury, which is now part of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in Austin.
The secret to his longevity? Overton once told comedian Steve Harvey: “Just keep living — don’t die.”
He regularly smoked cigars and drank whiskey, often on the porch of his Austin home.
Governor Greg Abbott issued the following statement on Overton’s passing:
“Richard Overton is an American icon and a Texas legend,” said Governor Abbott. “With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him. Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans. We can never repay Richard Overton for his service to our nation and for his lasting impact on the Lone Star State. On behalf of Texas, Cecilia and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.”
Texas Senator John Cornyn tweeted Thursday evening, “Richard Overton: a life well lived.”
Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon tweeted, “Like many others right now, my heart is heavy having learned of the passing of Mr. Overton. A man’s man, he was truly larger than life. If you ever talked to him, you got a dose of wisdom and humor. Thank you for your service, and rest easy sir. Sending love to the Overton family”
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley tweeted, “Thank you for your service Mr. Overton. Rest In Peace, you will be missed!!”