February 10th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Former Rep. Charlie Wilson dies

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Charlie Wilson, the flamboyant Texas congressman portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War," died today at the age of 76.  A statement from a Texas hospital said Wilson passed away after suffering from cardiopulmonary arrest; he'd had heart transplant surgery a few months before the film's premiere in late 2007.

Wilson earned the nickname "Good Time Charlie" for his love of alcohol, women and, well, other diversions.  But he was serious about driving the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, and used his congressional power to ensure the U.S. properly armed the Afghan rebels fighting the Soviets.  George Crile wrote a book about the unlikely chain of events, which was made into the movie starring Hanks as Wilson, along with fellow Oscar winners Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  In 2008, Wilson told CNN.com's Todd Leopold he was pleased with the film's portrayal of the period.

Wilson served 12 consecutive terms in the U.S. Congress, representing Texas' second district.  He is survived by his wife, Barbara.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. mike

    Hekmatyar, the original Islamic extremist and his nationalist rival, Ahmad Massoud, were the ones receiving support from Pakistan and the CIA during Wilson's tenure. Taliban came almost six years later, around 1995, 1996 and there is no evidence they were ever given support by the US. Most likely, they were created by Pakistan's ISI to do their dirty work in Afghanistan and then disbanded and went on the war path against Massoud, using Hekmatyar as a pawn.

    February 11, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. john d

    Right, this is the guy that single handedly created the Taliban... by giving the "freedom" fighters all the guns and money they wanted. Idiot.

    February 11, 2010 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |

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