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Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole died Sunday morning at age 98, prompting a flurry of reactions and condolences from Republicans and Democrats alike commemorating his nearly four decades of service.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” the Elizabeth Dole Foundation tweeted Sunday. “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”
LONGTIME GOP SENATOR AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BOB DOLE DEAD AT 98
The Dole family issued a statement later saying America was grieving the loss of “one of its heroes.”
“Thank you for the outpouring of love over the last year, it continues to sustain us as we grieve the loss of the precious man we knew as husband and father,” the statement read. “Bob Dole was never only ours – we shared him with Americans from every walk of life and every political persuasion. He dedicated his life to serving you, and so it is heartwarming that so many honor him at his passing.”
President Biden issued a lengthy statement Sunday touting Dole’s accomplishments as an “American statesman like few in our history.”
“A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation,” he said. “And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves. I will miss my friend. But I am grateful for the times we shared, and for the friendship Jill and I and our family have built with Liddy and the entire Dole family.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence said on Twitter that Dole “lived an extraordinary life of service to America” and that he will be “deeply missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him.”
Former President George W. Bush issued a statement saying Dole represented “the finest of American values.”
“He advanced them in the United States Senate,” the statement read. “And he lived them out as a father, husband, and friend. Our entire family benefited from that friendship, including my father. I will always remember Bob’s salute to my late dad at the Capitol, and now we Bushes salute Bob and give thanks for his life of principled service. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to Elizabeth and join our fellow citizens in prayer for her comfort.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted, “Sending heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family of Senator Bob Dole. We honor his service and dedication to the nation. May he Rest In Peace.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, tweeted, “When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole—a man who dedicated his life to serving our country. Rest In Peace, my friend. Ann and I will be praying for Elizabeth, their family, and loved ones.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted, “Bob Dole served his country with courage on the battlefield, and with dignity in the Senate. Jane and I send our condolences to his family.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Dole’s honor.
Dole announced earlier this year that he was being treated for stage 4 lung cancer, which prompted a visit at the time by President Biden to his Washington, D.C., home.
Dole, the former Kansas senator, was a World War II veteran who lost the use of his right arm on the battlefield in Italy. As former national chairman of the World War II Memorial Commission, he helped raise nearly $200 million for a WWII memorial on the National Mall, which was completed in 2004.
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Dole was the Republican Party’s 1996 presidential nominee and had a political career spanning nearly four decades. Former President Bill Clinton presented Dole with the Presidential Medal of Freedom months after winning the election against him.
Dole is survived by his wife, former North Carolina GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who is 85.