Bob Dole, a longtime Senate Republican leader and the party’s presidential nominee in 1996, died Sunday at age 98.
Dole’s death was confirmed in a tweet by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that 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.”
Dole was in many ways the embodiment of the World War II generation in Congress. He had served in a combat division in Italy and suffered grievous wounds that kept him in military hospitals for years after the war. But despite losing the use of his right arm, he got through law school and became a public prosecutor, state legislator, representative and U.S. senator.
“Bob was an American statesman like few in our history,” said President Joe Biden, who served with Dole in the Senate. “A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation. And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves.”
Several former presidents shared similar sentiments, remembering Dole as the consummate statesman, and an example of the best of the Greatest Generation.
In retirement, Dole had remained active in Washington, serving on presidential commissions and supporting the political career of his wife, Elizabeth Dole, who served in the U.S. Senate from 2003 to 2007. In 2016, he endorsed Donald Trump’s GOP presidential candidacy. He also had something of a career in TV commercials for Viagra and Pepsi and became an occasional character on the cartoon show The Simpsons. He had been in declining health in recent years.