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Dr. Frederick "Fritz" Cubin, longtime Casper physician and husband of former U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., died Monday at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. He was 71.

His death came after nearly a decade of serious health problems, including an immune disorder and blood disease. But his son, Bill Cubin, said he had been relatively active in recent weeks before being hospitalized over the weekend.

"We don't know what finally took him this time," Bill Cubin said. "It could've been a host of things just reaching critical mass."

Dr. Cubin practiced internal medicine in Casper from 1970 until health problems forced him to retire in 2001. He was born and grew up in Illinois and received his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

During his medical career, he helped start the Better Breathers organization for people with breathing problems in Casper, and he was an advocate for breast cancer awareness.

"He just loved being a doctor," Bill Cubin said Monday evening. "He really loved his patients, and they loved him. We've been hearing from them all day -- it's just been overwhelming. He was real proud of the fact that when he retired, he was seeing his third generation of patients."

Dr. Cubin met Barbara in 1974, and she managed his business office after their marriage from 1975 until she was elected to Congress in 1994. Barbara Cubin served seven terms in the House before retiring in 2008.

"He was always very supportive of her and would defend her passionately," Bill Cubin said, adding that his dad shared Barbara's conservative political views. "He has a picture of himself standing next to Rush Limbaugh, with the biggest smile you'll ever see on anybody's face. He was 100 percent a patriot who loved this country. He felt very lucky to live the life he was able to live with my mom."

Dr. Cubin was hospitalized many times in the past decade and underwent numerous surgical procedures, including removal of a tumor from his vocal cord and a procedure to halt the function of his spleen. Sick for many years with an immune disorder, he also was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia, a condition in which there is a deficient number of circulating blood platelets, the cells that help blood to clot. Staph infection, pneumonia, renal failure, liver failure and bone marrow problems were some of the other ailments he battled.

"He always worried about everyone else but himself and how they were coping," Bill Cubin said. "Also, he maintained his sense of humor throughout the whole ordeal. That's what people really remember about him -- he always had a joke."

Dr. Cubin's hobbies included buying and selling antiques, and he was an avid hunter and fisherman.

"Even when he was at his sickest, we took him out of the hospital and put him in a pickup so he could shoot an elk," Bill Cubin said.

In addition to his wife and son Bill, Dr. Cubin is survived by another son, Eric, and numerous grandchildren.

Services are pending.

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