The father of Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao died Wednesday at age 78, the Louisiana Republican's office announced in a statement Thursday. My Quang Cao, a lieutenant in the South Vietnamese army in the Vietnam War, spent seven years in communist camps as a prisoner of war. "My father was a champion and great lover of democracy," Rep. Cao said. "He laid his life on the line for it, and that is a wonderful source of inspiration to my family and me." My Quang Cao's wife sent their son, Joseph, and two of his siblings to Guam during their father's imprisonment, and the children were eventually moved to the United States. The elder Cao was released in 1982, and he and his wife immigrated in 1991 to the United States, where they were reunited with their three children for the first time in 16 years. The couple ultimately had eight children. He died in a hospice in Louisiana after a lengthy illness. Rep. Cao's office said My Quang Cao had long battled diabetes, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the camps. He is survived by his wife, Khang Thi Tran, five daughters and two sons.