Bill Hughes 1988

William Hughes in November of 1988.

TRENTON — Flags were ordered to be flown at half-staff Monday at all state buildings and facilities to honor former U.S. Rep. and Ambassador William J. Hughes, who died last week at the age of 87.

Gov. Phil Murphy made the order for U.S. and state flags Sunday morning, saying in a statement that Hughes “was nothing less than a New Jersey icon.”

"He was a public school product and a Rutgers graduate two times over,” Murphy said. “As a prosecutor in Cape May, he fought to keep residents safe. As a respected congressman, he fought to protect the Jersey Shore from polluters and the Pinelands from development. As U.S. ambassador to Panama under President Clinton, he served our nation on the world stage.”

Hughes died Wednesday in his Ocean City home, a family spokesperson confirmed. Details about his cause of death were unavailable.

“Tammy and I send our condolences to his children and their families, and to all who knew him and called him a friend,” Murphy said. “Congressman Hughes will continue to inspire future leaders through the work of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University, perhaps the most fitting tribute to his tremendous legacy."

GALLERY: Rep. William J. Hughes viewing in Ocean City

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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