RALEIGH -

Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Rose is being remembered as a congressman who protected the tobacco that brought wealth to farmers in his North Carolina district.

Rose's wife Stacye Hefner said Tuesday that Rose died of Parkinson's disease at a hospital near their northern Alabama home. Hefner said her 73-year-old husband was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder last year.

Rose spent 24 years in Washington representing a district which included his hometown of Fayetteville and much of North Carolina's southeast.

He became one of the most powerful lawmakers in Congress and used his seat on the House Agriculture Committee to back the interests of farmers, especially tobacco growers back home.

Rose retired in 1996 and started lobbying Washington with his wife, the daughter of fellow North Carolina Congressmen Bill Hefner