Former senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson died Sunday at the age of 73 after a long battle with lymphoma, The Tennessean reports.
The Thompson family issued a statement Sunday that confirmed the well-respected politician and actor had passed away.
“Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar, and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home,” the family statement read.
Thompson, a native Tennessean, had a long career in both politics and entertainment. He served as counsel for the Watergate Committee in the early 1970s and gained national notice for his role in investigating the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon.
In the 1980s, Thompson made a career switch to acting and had notable roles in movies like “Cape Fear,” “The Hunt for Red October,” and “Die Hard 2.”
In 1994, he ran for and won then-Vice President Al Gore’s open senate seat in Tennessee. Thompson won re-election in 1996 and served out the term until 2002.
Shortly after departing the Senate, he landed a starring role on “Law and Order” as District Attorney Arthur Branch.
During the 2008 GOP primary, a groundswell of support encouraged the TV star to ditch “Law and Order” to make a bid for the White House. He was briefly the frontrunner after announcing his candidacy in September of 2007, but eventually declining poll numbers convinced him to hang up his hat in January 2008.
Several political figures expressed their condolences upon learning of the news of Thompson’s passing.
Fred Thompson lived an amazing life, he will be sorely missed. Columba and my prayers are with Jeri and his his kids & grandkids
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 1, 2015
Senator Fred Thompson passed on. Fred should have been president/2008. I cherish every moment & every mile with Fred & there were many. RIP
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) November 2, 2015
Deeply saddened by the passing of Fred Thompson, a dear friend & great senator. My thoughts & prayers are with his wife Jeri & family. RIP. — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 1, 2015