Washington, Dec 5 (EFE).- Former Republican presidential candidate and US Sen. Bob Dole, one of the key figures in the GOP during the second half of the 20th century, died Sunday, his family announced. He was 98.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said. “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”
Last February, Dole announced that he was being treated for Stage 4 lung cancer.
After the news of Dole’s death became known, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, ordered the flags at the US Capitol to fly at half-staff.
Dole was a US senator from Kansas, where he was born, for 27 years and in 1996 he was selected to be the GOP presidential candidate in the election where Democratic President Bill Clinton won reelection.
Earlier, in 1976, Dole had been the running mate of President Gerald Ford in the election he lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
During World War II, while serving with the US Army, Dole was seriously wounded while fighting in Italy, losing the use of his right arm and sustaining other wounds that plagued him all his life.
He was married to Elizabeth Dole, who was a US senator from North Caroline from 2003-2009.
In January 2018, Dole was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, making him only the eighth senator to receive it.
“I want to thank all those who’ve said such kind words about me,” Dole said upon receiving the award, going on to joke: “They’re probably not true, but they were nice.”