Bob Dole, a former Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Senate leader and champion of major legislation supporting Social Security, Food Stamps and people with disabilities, died on Sunday. He was 98.
Dole's death was announced on his website, robertdole.org.
Dole was known for his work on landmark bipartisan legislation, which included a 1983 bill to preserve the Social Security System from bankruptcy, legislation to create the Food Stamp program and International Food Aid Program with friend and colleague Sen. George McGovern, and enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. He also sponsored numerous bills benefiting American veterans.
In 1984, Dole succeeded Sen. Howard Baker as senate majority leader, and continued serving as the Senate Republican leader, either majority or minority, for 12 years.
Dole, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968 and was President Gerald Ford's running mate in the 1976 presidential election, was nominated as the Republican candidate to run against President Bill Clinton in 1996, but lost to the popular president. He also unsuccessfully ran in the GOP presidential primaries in 1980 and 1988.
Clinton awarded Dole the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his contributions to the nation a few weeks after defeating the senator.
The former longtime senator was born July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kan., and shortly after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, left the University of Kansas to join the Army Enlisted Reserve Corp. He was called to active duty in 1943 and was severely wounded in battle in Bologna, Italy, in April 1945.
Dole was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1950 while still a student at Washburn Law School in Topeka, Kan. He chose to practice law instead of running for re-election. In 1960, he tried politics again as he was elected to Congress.
Funeral arrangements are forthcoming, a media advisory said.
He is survived by his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and daughter Robin Dole.