Robert Joseph ‘Bob’ Dole, a former United States Senate leader and Republican Party candidate for President, has died at the age of 98, according to a tweet from his wife, Elizabeth Dole, on Sunday.
Dole had announced in February that he had begun treatment for Stage IV lung cancer.
Dole was known for his work as the Republican Leader of the United States Senate during the final 11 years of his tenure, including three nonconsecutive years as Senate Majority Leader. Prior to his 27 years in the Senate, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969.
Until 2018, Dole held the record as the Senate’s longest-serving Republican leader, a post he held for nearly 11 years.
The Kansas native was also the GOP presidential nominee for the 1996 U.S. presidential election, in which Dole lost to Democrat Bill Clinton (Dole had also sought his party’s presidential nomination in 1980 and 1988, and was the 1976 GOP vice presidential candidate on the losing ticket with President Gerald Ford).
Following his election defeat, Dole was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Clinton in January 1997 for service to his country in the military (in which Dole served from 1942 to 1948, earning two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star) and his political career, and in 2018, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service to the nation as a “soldier, legislator and statesman.” In 2019, the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a bill promoting the then-95-year-old Dole from captain to colonel for his service during World War II.
Dole’s most recent public involvements included his backing of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. He later endorsed Republican candidate (and eventual winning Presidential candidate) Donald Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 elections.