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State leaders in North Carolina react to death of former senator, presidential candidate Bob Dole

Dole died Sunday at the age of 98. He became one of the most influential legislators and party leaders in the Senate, during his 36-year career.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — Former senator, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole died Sunday morning at the age of 98.

Dole overcame disabling war wounds to become a symbol and celebrant of his dwindling generation of World War II veterans.

His wife, Elizabeth Dole, posted the announcement Sunday on Twitter.

Dole announced in February 2021 that he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” the Elizabeth Dole Foundation wrote on Twitter. “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”

Multiple state leaders from Senator Thom Tillis to Senator Richard Burr spoke out following the announcement of Dole’s death.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) said America has lost one of its greatest heroes. 

“From nearly losing his own life fighting against fascists in World War II to dedicating his civilian life to producing results for the American people in the halls of Congress, Bob Dole personified what it meant to be a selfless servant leader,” Tillis said. “In the Senate, he used his leadership positions to break gridlock and find common ground for a better America. Over the years, his friends, colleagues, and many Americans had the opportunity to see his big heart and appreciate his legendary sense of humor.”

Tillis said even after retiring, Dole didn’t stop serving.

“He partnered with his loving wife Elizabeth to remain a tireless champion for our veterans, and he remained a statesman and rare voice of reason and civility in an age of partisan politics that desperately needed them,” Tillis said.

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said Dole was a dedicated public servant throughout his life.

“As part of the Greatest Generation, Senator Dole overcame immense challenges after being injured on the battlefield, leaving him more determined to continue serving his country in Congress,” Burr said. “For nearly 36 years, Senator Dole was a tireless champion for others, working on issues that embody American values, including the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Burr said Dole’s legacy of leadership and his lifetime of achievements will be remembered for years to come.

“Brooke and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to Elizabeth and the entire Dole family,” he said.

The Dole family also gave a statement expressing gratitude amid Bob Dole’s death.

“Thank you for the outpouring of love over the last year, it continues to sustain us as we grieve the loss of the precious man we knew as husband and father,” the family wrote in a statement. “Bob Dole was never only ours – we shared him with Americans from every walk of life and every political persuasion. He dedicated his life to serving you, and so it is heartwarming that so many honor him at his passing.”

The Dole family went on to say Dole “never forgot where he came from.”

“He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide-open plains of his youth,” the family said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.