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WW2 Hero, 27-Year Senator, Longtime Republican Leader Bob Dole Dies At 98

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Bob Dole, a former U.S. Senator representing the state of Kansas who once ran for President and served as the Senate Majority Leader, has passed away at 98 years of age. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year.

The news of the longtime fixture of Republican Party politics’s death was shared by The Elizabeth Dole Foundation this morning.

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

Dole represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate from 1968-1996. He became the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 1996, eventually losing to President Bill Clinton, and retiring from political life in Kansas.

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Dole remained active in the Kansas community toward the end of his life, regularly making political endorsements, appearing at events, and participating in a “Yellow Ribbons From Home” program that aired in Wichita, Kansas in 2007, where families of servicemen deployed overseas were able to send televised messages to the troops via an early Internet simulcast.

Dole had endorsed Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a fellow Republican, to become the state’s next governor before prior to his death.

In World War II, Dole sustained an injury while storming a German machine gun nest that left him paralyzed from the neck down. After a series of surgeries and lengthy recuperation, the paralysis was widely diminished and he regained use of his legs and left arm. Dole never regained use of his right arm or hand. Dole called the assault “the day that changed my life.”

The news about Dole’s health originally came one day after the passing of radio legend Rush Limbaugh, marking two conservative icons of the 20th century lost to cancer in the same year.

In a statement posted to Twitter at the time, Dole wrote, “Recently, I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. My first treatment will begin Monday.” He added, “While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also known that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own.”

Dole is survived by his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and daughter Robin Dole.

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