The first thing former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi did after rolling his wheelchair through the security doors of Logan's Terminal C was give his two stepchildren long hugs. After five years in a North Carolina prison, DiMasi was free and thankful to be on the other side of what he called “a trying and difficult experience.”

Flanked by his wife and a small entourage, DiMasi wheeled up to a gaggle of photographers and reporters eager to hear his first words in five years. He tried to stand but, after a few steps, asked that the wheelchair be returned. Frail, thin, and grayer, DiMasi said he was “overwhelmed to be able to be home with my family. I just love being back in Boston.” He thanked his wife Debbie for advocating for his early release. "I love her very much,” the former speaker said.

DiMasi was convicted in 2011 of taking $65,000 in bribes and kickbacks from a Burlington software firm and sentenced to eight years in prison. He has been battling cancer for the last few years, and federal Judge Mark Wolf complied with a request from prosecutors last week to shorten DiMasi’s sentence by two years due to his failing health.

"I’m looking forward to regaining my health and being taken care of by my own doctors,” DiMasi said.