Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has died. He was 82.
Reid, who represented Nevada in the Senate for 30 years, died on Tuesday, according to the Las Vegas Sun and Fox News. His wife, Landra Reid, said in a statement that he died “peacefully” and surrounded by friends “following a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.”
He underwent surgery in 2018 for pancreatic cancer, KLAS-TV reported. He said last year that his cancer was in remission, according to the news station.
“Harry was a devout family man and deeply loyal friend,” Landra Reid said Tuesday. “We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from so many over these past few years. We are especially grateful for the doctors and nurses that cared for him. Please know that meant the world to him.”
Over a 34-year career in Washington, Reid thrived on behind-the-scenes wrangling and kept the Senate controlled by his party through two presidents — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama — a crippling recession and the Republican takeover of the House after the 2010 elections.
He retired in 2016 after an accident left him blind in one eye.
President Joe Biden, who served with Reid in the Senate for two decades before he became vice president alongside Obama in 2009 and for eight years after that, called Reid “a dear friend and a giant of our history” on Tuesday.
“I’ve had the honor of serving with some of the all-time great Senate majority leaders in our history,” he said. “Harry Reid was one of them. And for Harry, it wasn’t about power for power’s sake. It was about the power to do right for the people.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak remembered Reid as “a mentor, father figure and someone I always looked up to.”
“There will never be another leader like him,” he said in a post on Twitter. “Senator Reid will be deeply missed but the mark he left on our state will last forever.”
Obama on Tuesday shared a letter that he wrote to Reid at the request of his wife after the former senator’s health began to decline.
“You were a great leader in the Senate, and early on you were more generous to me than I had any right to expect,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t have been president had it not been for your encouragement and support, and I wouldn’t have got most of what I got done without your skill and determination.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the Nevada Democrat “one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met” in a statement published on social media.
“He was tough-as-nails strong, but caring and compassionate, and always went out of his way quietly to help people who needed help,” Schumer said.
“He was a boxer who came from humble origins, but he never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor and the middle class. He was my leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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