Christopher Van Hollen Sr., a former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, long-serving member of the Foreign Service and father of Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, died Wednesday night, according to the congressman’s office. He was 90.
Rep. Van Hollen often credits his father’s 25-year career in the Foreign Service for instilling in him a passion for foreign affairs, the subject area in which Van Hollen got his start in Congress as a legislative assistant in the 1980s and later worked in as an arms control and NATO specialist on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1986.
The elder Van Hollen’s career with the State Department took the family all over the world including to Turkey, India and Karachi, Pakistan, where Rep. Van Hollen was born in 1959.
“Christopher Van Hollen, Sr., a distinguished diplomat and former U.S. ambassador who served for 25 years as a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, passed away last night at the age of 90,” the congressman’s office said in a statement. “More information about arrangements will be released when available. Congressman Van Hollen and his family appreciate your thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.