Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett died early Saturday at his Cleveland home of a lingering cardiopulmonary illness. He was 75.

Bennett was the longest serving chairman of the state party, serving from 1988 until 2009 and again from 2012 to 2013.

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Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and co-Chairman Sharon Day issued a statement on his pasing Saturday.

"We're deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our RNC family, Bob Bennett. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones and with his many friends across Ohio and around the country," said Priebus, who described Bennett as a "loyal friend" and "a true force in Ohio politics."

"We're praying for the Bennett family," said Co-Chairman Day. “It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside Bob on the national committee, and we will miss him so much. Today, a grateful party mourns his loss."