Navy veteran and former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran died Thursday morning at the age of 81.
The successor to his Senate seat, Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), confirmed Cochran’s death in a statement Thursday.
“Cochran’s family extends its gratitude for the support shown to the Senator by Mississippians over the years,” the statement read.
The Mississippi Republican represented the state in Congress for more than 45 years, having resigned from the Senate in April 2018 over health concerns.
ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Dec. 4, 2013, file photo, Sen. Thad Cochran looks over documents before a closed-door meeting with other farm bill negotiators on Capitol Hill in Washington. The seven-term Republican died Thursday at age 81.
Cochran was first elected to the U.S. House in 1972, followed by the U.S. Senate in 1978.
President Donald Trump memorialized the late senator on Twitter, where he remembered Cochran as “a real Senator with incredible values”:
Very sad to hear the news on the passing of my friend, Senator Thad Cochran. He was a real Senator with incredible values – even flew back to Senate from Mississippi for important Healthcare Vote when he was desperately ill. Thad never let our Country (or me) down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
In 2006, Time dubbed Cochran “the quiet persuader” after he secured $29 billion from the federal government to help rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
In a 2014 interview with USA Today, he seemed to appreciate the honorific and pledged to maintain the same strategy.
“I hope it works as well as it always has,” Cochran told the paper. “I think honesty and sincerity are the two most important ingredients to serve us here in the Senate — with knowledge of the subject matter. That’s important, too.”
This story has been updated with Donald Trump’s tweet.
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