WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2015 — Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee, a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that writes spending bills for the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration, died Friday after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 56.

The Republican former state senator underwent brain surgery last June and was elected to a third term in November. He was sworn in to his third term in January at a hospital in his hometown of Tupelo.

Nunnelee’s office released a statement from his family saying that he “has gone home to be with Jesus. He was well loved and will be greatly missed.”

President Barack Obama called Nunnelee “a proud son of Tupelo” who “never wavered in his determination to serve the men and women who placed their trust in him, even as he bravely battled the illness that ultimately took his life. “

Nunnelee who was elected to the House in 2010, served on both the Agriculture and the Energy and Water Development subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee.

In September 2011, Nunnelee told Agri-Pulse that he ran for Congress because he was “concerned about the world we are leaving to our grandchildren and their grandchildren” and felt an obligation “to successive generations to tackle some tough problems.”

“So much of who we are as a people, is tied to the land,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to do more with less, and that comes with research.”

The fiscal conservative voted for the 2014 farm bill and supported public funding of agricultural research.

House Speaker John Boehner called Nunnelee a “rare calming presence in the cauldron of politics.”

“He never let cancer get the best of him. We know this because, at the end of his life, all Alan asked of us was whether he made a difference. Indeed he did, very much so.”

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said Nunnelee “was one of those rare individuals that was driven, astute, and loyal to God, family, and country. We are truly saddened that we have lost such a great man so early in life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who knew and loved Alan.”