Former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, who famously opposed the Vietnam War and ran against Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election only to lose in a landslide, has died. He was 90.
The BBC described the three-term senator from South Dakota as the “leading voice of the Democratic party’s liberal wing,” while the Los Angeles Times said he was a “die-hard idealist” who inspired scores of politicians including Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Rodham.
McGovern died “peacefully” early this morning in Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, S.D. ABC News reported, citing a statement from his family.
He was admitted to the hospice earlier this month, the BBC said.
“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer," the statement said.
One of McGovern’s “proudest achievements” was to help create the Food for Peace program, which sent surplus U.S. food abroad as a form of aid, the Los Angeles Times said.
That, however, was not his only lasting legacy.
During his failed presidential campaign in 1972, which was hurt by Watergate and revelations that his running mate suffered depression, McGovern pushed for women to be appointed to the Supreme Court and nominated for the vice presidency, both of which have since been fulfilled.
"In the storied history of American politics, I believe no other presidential candidate ever had such an enduring impact in defeat," former president Bill Clinton said in 2006, according to USA Today.