West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd passed away early this morning at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va. He was 92.
Robert Byrd, the 92-year-old West Virginia Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate for 51 years, died Monday.
A family spokesman said Mr. Byrd died peacefully at about 3 a.m. at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va. At first Mr. Byrd was believed to be suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, but other medical conditions developed. He had been in failing health for several years.
A master of Senate procedures and orator whose Stentorian tones aimed to evoke the roots of the republic (if not Rome), Mr. Byrd served longer, voted more frequently, and probably used the arcane Senate rules to more effect than any previous denizen of the nation’s senior legislative house.
Mr. Byrd inhabited numerous roles in a life that took him from a childhood in the coalfields of West Virginia to Senate Majority Leader. In his early years, he was a gas-station attendant, a welder, and self-taught butcher, then a West Virginia state legislator.
After he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952, his political positions veered widely between the now almost extinct Southern conservative Democrats of mid-century to that of the more conventional liberal of today. But his reputation never rested on ideology, but rather on his persuasiveness, his sheer effort, and occasionally, his willingness to filibuster.
Suffices to say I rarely agreed with Senator Byrd on policy, but that’s irrelevant now… He was a husband, a father and a grandfather our thoughts and prayers belong with his family today.