Vice President Joe Biden on Monday remembered the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as a legend of the upper chamber and a friend who was there for him in a time of need. 

Biden spoke while discussing the federal stimulus package at a General Electric plant in Louisville, Ky. Biden, who served in the Senate for 36 years, remembered how Byrd showed up to the funeral of his wife and one-year-old daughter after they were killed in a car crash weeks following his 1972 election.

The vice president called Byrd "a guy who was there when I was a 29-year-old kid being sworn into the United States Senate shortly thereafter; a guy who stood in the rain, in a pouring rain, freezing rain outside a church as I buried my daughter and my wife before I got sworn in, Robert C. Byrd," adding that "we lost the dean of the United States Senate, but also the state of West Virginia lost its most fierce advocate and, as I said, I lost a dear friend."

Biden also memorialized Byrd, the longest-serving U.S. lawmaker ever, as an institution, and said that "the Senate is a lesser place for his going.

"He may have spent half a century in Washington. But there’s a guy — if anybody wondered — he never, never, never, never took his eye off his beloved mountain state," Biden said.