Pence praises 'friend and mentor' Lugar after longtime senator's death

Pence praises 'friend and mentor' Lugar after longtime senator's death
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Vice President Pence praised his "friend and mentor" former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) after the longtime senator's death on Sunday.

"Hoosiers are saddened today to learn of the passing of one of our greatest statesmen, Senator Richard Lugar," Pence, who also hails from Indiana, said in a statement. "Senator Lugar’s contributions to the life of our nation are countless."

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"As the longest serving member of Congress from Indiana, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, he leaves behind a legacy of public service that will inspire Hoosiers for generations. Senator Lugar was also a friend and mentor throughout our public career and we will miss his kindness, example and wisdom," Pence added.

The Lugar Center said in a statement that Lugar died early Sunday as a result of complications from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a rare neurological disorder.

The 87-year-old served in the Senate for over 30 years after serving as the mayor of Indianapolis for seven years.

Figures from across the political spectrum have issued statements honoring Lugar following news of his death on Sunday, with former President Obama calling him "an American statesman" and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE (R-Ky.) lauding him as "the consummate U.S. Senator."

"He combined the principled commitments of a patriot with the political instincts of a savvy legislator. He was a wise counselor and leading voice within the Republican conference and an inexhaustible bipartisan collaborator who earned the admiration of everyone across the political spectrum," McConnell said in a statement.