State legislators are mourning the death of state Rep. Lawrence G. Miller, who became known at the Capitol as a major supporter of stem cell research during his own lengthy battle with cancer. He died Saturday at the age of 78.
The Courant chronicled Miller’s journey back in 2004 during the height of the battle over stem cell research in the state legislature.
“Look at me,” Miller told colleagues at the time. “I’m stem cell.”
He bluntly added, “I’m supposed to be dead.”
When he was diagnosed with cancer in 1998, Miller was told by doctors that he might have only three years to live. But he had already lived six years by the time of the 2004 debate and eventually lived 16 years from his diagnosis.
His cancer went into remission after he received two stem cell transplants at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock in a complex procedure that involved harvesting his own blood.
The stem cell bill was eventually passed with Miller’s support and signed into law by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Miller’s colleagues have been hailing him since the news of his death was released on Sunday afternoon.
“Larry Miller was a dedicated public servant who never stopped advocating for Stratford, Shelton, and Trumbull, and for the issues he believed in,” said House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, a Hamden Democrat. “I’m pleased that he was able to see Connecticut recognize Gustave Whitehead as the first in flight, the culmination of years of Larry’s leadership. He will be sorely missed in the House.”