(WTVO) — Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who became known as “Joe the Plumber” after confronting then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on the campaign trail in 2008, has died, according to Fox News.

In July, Wurzelbacher announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“When I met Joe he was already known by everyone else as ‘Joe the Plumber’ but he wrote something to me that stood out and showed me who he truly was: ‘just Joe,’” his wife, Katie, said Monday. “He was an average, honorable man trying to do great things for the country he loved so deeply after being thrust into the public eye for asking a question.” 

“My heart goes out to everyone whose lives are impacted by cancer. There are so many ups and downs but we tried to find joy in every day. He fought long and hard, but is now free from pain,” she continued. “I don’t think of him as losing his battle. Because he knew Jesus, his battle was won.” 

Wurzelbacher spoke to Obama at a campaign event in Toledo, Ohio, accusing the Democrat of a tax plan that conflicted with the American dream.

The late Sen. John McCain, who was running against Obama on the Republican ticket, referenced “Joe the Plumber” in speeches and later had Wurzelbacher accompany him at campaign events.

Wurzelbacher later ran against Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) for Ohio’s 9th congressional seat in 2012, but lost.