Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

State Rep. David Dill battles cancer

60-year-old legislator plagued by string of health issues over the years

Tom Klein
Posted 7/30/15

REGIONAL – State Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, is battling for his life against cancer.

The 60-year-old Dill, who took ill after the 2015 session, is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the …

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State Rep. David Dill battles cancer

60-year-old legislator plagued by string of health issues over the years

Posted

REGIONAL – State Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, is battling for his life against cancer.

The 60-year-old Dill, who took ill after the 2015 session, is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It’s the latest in a long string of illnesses that have plagued the state representative, who has struggled with diabetes and a heart condition.

In 2010, he received a kidney transplant and later underwent surgery to install a pacemaker to treat an irregular heartbeat that had sapped his energy.

Dill’s cancer battle has fueled speculation that the state representative may not run for re-election in 2016. There has been no official announcement by Dill or his family on his plans.

Dill has risen to prominence as one of Greater Minnesota’s key legislators since first being elected to office in 2002. Dill chairs the House Lands Subcommittee and is the DFL leader on the Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee. He also serves on the House Agriculture Finance Committee, the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee and the Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy Committee.

He’s played an influential role in legislation on mining and outdoor issues, and hasbeen a strong advocate for education.

Dill’s well-documented health issues previously raised the question of whether he could continue to serve in the Legislature, but the state representative has always risen to the challenge.

Just a week after his kidney transplant surgery, Dill attended a special session, earning a round of applause from his legislative colleagues.

Earlier that same year, rumors spread that Dill had cancer after his sudden weight loss following gastric bypass surgery. The state representative responded to those rumors in an interview with the Timberjay, saying that he “felt fine” and hadn’t missed a day of work in 15 years.

In an interview with the Timberjay following his kidney transplant, Dill talked candidly about his health issues.

Dill was diagnosed with diabetes Type 2 in his early 20s, but said he didn’t take the illness seriously, allowing his weight to balloon past 300 pounds.

“My mistake was not taking responsibility for my disease,” he acknowledged, “and that started the onset of the kidney failure.”

As his health deteriorated, Dill got more serious about his diabetes. His efforts to shed weight eventually led to gastric bypass surgery, allowing him to lose more than 150 pounds.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking care of yourself even if you’re not showing any outward symptoms,” said Dill in the 2010 interview.

Ironically, before his latest health battle, Dill had been in good shape. He had continued to stay lean with a daily exercise regime and was closely watching his diet. The weight loss also allowed Dill to stop taking medication that previously controlled his blood sugar.

In addition to serving as state representative for District 3A, Dill, his son Drake and family operate Thunderhook Fly-Ins, located next to Wabakimi Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

Prior to being elected to the Minnesota House, Dill had served as city administrator for the city of Orr.

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