Senator Arlen Specter dies at 82 after losing battle with cancer

arlen-specter-obit.jpg Arlen Specter, a long-time U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, died Sunday (Oct. 14) after a long battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He passed away at his home in Philadelphia, his son Shanin tells the AP.

Specter was a Senator from Pennsylvania for 30 years. He was a Republican for most of his career, though he began his political career as a Democratic and ended it as one too. He was always preaching the benefits of political tolerance on each side of the aisle.

He was one of three Republicans to cross party lines and vote for President Obama's economic stimulus plan in 2009, which ultimately cost him his job. Specter announced in April 2009 that he was joining the Democratic party, but in 2010, he lost in the Democratic primary to then-U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.

President Obama says of Specter's passing, "Arlen Specter was always a fighter. From his days stamping out corruption as a prosecutor in Philadelphia to his three decades of service in the Senate, Arlen was fiercely independent -- never putting party or ideology ahead of the people he was chosen to serve. He brought that same toughness and determination to his personal struggles, using his own story to inspire others."

Vice President Biden adds, "Arlen Specter was a great senator who lived his life the way he died, with dignity and courage. He was my friend and I admired him a great deal. For over three decades, I watched his political courage accomplish great feats and was awed by his physical courage to never give up. Arlen never walked away from his principles and was at his best when they were challenged."

And former President George W. Bush says, "Arlen Specter loved our country and served it with integrity for three decades in the United States Senate. Laura and I appreciate his contributions to America and are grateful for his many years of public service."

Specter's funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Penn Valley, Pa. He is survived by wife Joan, sons Shanin and Steve, and four granddaughters.
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