“My dad passed away peacefully Tuesday afternoon at his home surrounded by his family,” David Mineta said in a statement provided by Mineta’s former chief of staff, John Flaherty.
Flaherty told CNN that the elder Mineta died in Edgewater, Maryland, of a heart ailment.
Mineta served in both the administrations of President Bill Clinton, as commerce secretary, and President George W. Bush, as transportation secretary, where he oversaw aviation security during 9/11 and its aftermath.
Bush described Mineta’s legacy on Tuesday as “a wonderful American story about someone who overcame hardship and prejudice.”
“As my Secretary of Transportation, he showed great leadership in helping prevent further attacks on and after 9/11,” Bush wrote. “As I said when presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Norm has given his country a lifetime of service, and he’s given his fellow citizens an example of leadership, devotion to duty, and personal character.”
He started his political career by serving on the City Council of San Jose, California, before becoming the city’s mayor and then moving on to Congress, where he served for two decades, elected as a Democrat.
When Bush announced Mineta as his pick for transportation secretary in 2001, Mineta became one of few people to serve in both Democratic and Republican Cabinets.
Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Mineta led the process of closing US airspace and grounding flights. He was then charged with creating the Transportation Security Administration.
This story has been updated with additional details.