Former longtime senator was fighting advanced lung cancer
Bob Dole — a World War II hero, Republican U.S. senator and presidential candidate respected for his civility, sense of humor and talent for bipartisan work — has died.
He was 98.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation issued this statement Sunday: “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.”
Mr. Dole announced in February that he was being treated for advanced lung cancer.
According to national media reports, he experienced various health ailments in his later decades. He was operated on for prostate cancer in 1991 and underwent abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery in 2001. Four years later, he was hospitalized after a fall at his home. In 2009, he was treated for a leg infection.
A native of Russell, Kan., he enlisted in the Army at age 19 in 1942. He was sent in 1945 to fight the war in Italy, and during that time, he was wounded when he was carrying a fellow soldier to safety. The wound left his right arm permanently disabled and hindered his use of his left arm.
Mr. Dole received the Purple Heart twice and two Bronze stars.
After studying law and serving in the Kansas House and as a Russell County prosecutor, Mr. Dole started his Washington, D.C. career during the Kennedy administration.
He served 27 years as a Republican senator from Kansas, and that included time as the Senate majority leader. In that role, Mr, Dole became known for working with Republicans and Democrats alike to achieve common goals. Colleagues also praised him for his civility and unwavering sense of humor, and he was known for his friendships with people in both parties.
He was President Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976 when Vice President Nelson Rockefeller decided against seeking a second term. Mr. Ford lost to Jimmy Carter.
Mr. Dole ran unsuccessfully three times for president.
In 1980, he lost the Republican nomination to Ronald Reagan, and in 1988, George H.W. Bush was nominated instead of him.
Mr. Dole did get the nomination in 1996, only to lose to President Bill Clinton.
But he and Mr. Clinton were friends, and they later co-chaired a scholarship fund that raised $100 million for families of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Prior to that, President Clinton awarded Mr. Dole the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997.
And in 2018, Mr. Dole, who’s survived by his wife, former Labor Secretary and former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole and their daughter, Robin Dole, received the congressional medal of honor in 2018. Right up to his final years, he was recognized for his lifetime of heroism and service.