(CNN) – Sen. Daniel Inouye named U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as his preferred successor before his death Monday in a letter to Hawaii's governor, his office said.
Hanabusa, a first term Democrat, represents Hawaii's 1st Congressional District.
"A letter was delivered to the governor at 11 a.m. HST yesterday," Inouye's spokesman Peter Boylan wrote. "In it the Senator wrote that his last wish was to have Congresswoman Hanabusa appointed to replace him."
Gov. Neil Abercrombie must appoint an interim replacement for Inouye, who died of respiratory complications Monday at the age of 88. Inouye was hospitalized last week and had undergone procedures to regulate his oxygen intake.
Hawaii's state election law stipulates Abercrombie must choose the replacement from a list of three names provided by the state party of the incumbent – in this case, the Hawaii Democrats. That person will hold the seat until 2014, when a special election will be held to fill the spot until 2016, which would have been the end of Inouye's term.
In a statement Monday, Abercrombie said Inouye "left us with a legacy of honor and service to the people of Hawaii, to the people of this nation, without parallel."
"Our responsibility is to not just carry on but carry through on his total devotion and commitment to Hawaii and its values," Abercrombie wrote.
Hawaii's other current congresswoman, Rep. Mazie Hirono, was elected in November to replace retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka. Her House seat will be filled by incoming Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.