Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98

Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.) died early Sunday at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said in a statement.

“Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep. At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years,” the foundation said.

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The former presidential candidate said earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

“While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own,” he said in a statement in February.

Dole served as U.S. senator to Kansas between 1969 and 1996, including two stints as the Senate majority leader from 1985 to 1987 and from 1995 to 1996. Dole also went head-to-head with then-Democratic presidential candidate Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonPerdue proposes election police force in Georgia To boost economy and midterm outlook, Democrats must pass clean energy bill Could the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? MORE during the 1996 election but ultimately lost the race.
 
"Bob Dole never forgot where he came from," Dole's family said in a statement. "He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide open plains of his youth. He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism, and it was that unique Kansan combination of attributes and values that made him such a giant of the Senate."

"America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its rock. We will smile as we recall his gifted sense of humor. We will take comfort from the extraordinary moments of our lifetimes together," his family added.
 
Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress Manchin: Biden spending plan talks would start 'from scratch' Reps. Massie, Grijalva test positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.), announced that she had ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff following the news. 
 
 
He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2018, and the ceremony was attended by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Trump, Pelosi and former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.).
 
"I want to thank all those who've said such kind words about me," Dole said during the award ceremony. "They're probably not true, but they were nice."
 
Tributes to the former Republican senator from former and current lawmakers and officials started pouring in on Sunday.
 
"Senator Bob Dole was a truly great man who lived an extraordinary life of service to America and he will be deeply missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him," former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceManchin, Collins leading talks on overhauling election law, protecting election officials Jan. 6 committee asks Ivanka Trump to sit for interview Pences' pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, dies MORE tweeted.
 
"Senate Republicans and the entire Senate were better off for Bob’s stewardship. But more importantly, his beloved Kansas and the entire nation reaped huge rewards from his service. Bob was a steady leader and a legislative master. He unlocked both conservative victories and big bipartisan achievements," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Biden clarifies any Russian movement into Ukraine 'is an invasion' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
 
"@SenatorDole was an American hero,a statesman of the highest order & one of the greatest legislators of all time. Most importantly,he was forever a Kansan who always put service above self. Laina & I join Kansans in holding Elizabeth, Robin & the entire Dole family in our prayers," Sen. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallSwalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down The Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin GOP senator plans to introduce FAUCI Act after clash at hearing MORE (R-Kan.) tweeted on Sunday
 
Tributes to Dole, a World War II army service member who was hit by German ammunition in 1945, which left him seriously wounded, also poured in from Democrats.
 
"Our deepest condolences to family and loved ones of Senator Bob Dole. Thank you for your service to our country — in combat and as a statesman," Arizona House Democrats tweeted
 
Updated 2:50 p.m.