Fred Thompson, Former US Senator And Actor, Dies At 73

Fred Thompson, Former US Senator And Actor, Dies At 73
Fred Thompson greets supporters freddthompson / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Former U.S. Senator and actor Fred Thompson has passed away Sunday. He was 73.


In a statement issued Sunday, Thompson’s family said that he died after a recurrence of lymphoma. “It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the statement said. “Our nation has lost a servant, Tennessee has lost a son, and our family has lost its rock.”

According to the Huffington Post, Thompson featured in as many as 20 motion pictures – including “In the Line of Fire,” ”Die Hard II,” ”The Hunt for Red October” and “Cape Fear.” He sought to enter public service after his 10 year career in Hollywood, and began his Senate campaign after heading to Nashville.

In 1994, he won the special election to fill Al Gore’s vacate U.S. Senate seat, as reported by CNN. His term in the Senate expired in January 2003, after which he retired, saying he could not push for another term. In a written statement at the time, he had said, “I simply do not have the heart for another six-year term. Serving in the Senate has been a tremendous honor, but I feel that I have other priorities that I need to attend to.”

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In 2007, he announced that he would be seeking the Republican presidential nomination. However, he couldn’t perform well in the early caucuses and primaries, and announced that he was leaving the race in January 2008. “I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort,” he had said.

Thompson campaigned widely for presidential nominee John McCain after quitting from the race. While he sought support to become chairman of the Republican National Committee, he left that after a few months.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee posted their condolences on Twitter.

First diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2004, Thompson’s cancer recurred in 2007 as he was preparing for his presidential campaign, as reported by NBC News.

“[Thompson] 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,” his family said. “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.”