(Reuters) - Former senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern has entered hospice care in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the hospice center said on Monday in a statement approved by his family.
McGovern, 90, who lost to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election, was admitted to the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, part of Avera McKennan Hospice Services.
"The family of Senator McGovern wishes to extend their gratitude and appreciation for the many prayers and well wishes and requests complete privacy at this time," Avera McKennan said in a statement.
The family did not give details of his illness.
A historian and prolific author, McGovern has been hospitalized several times in the past year. In October 2011, he was admitted briefly to a Sioux Falls hospital after complaining of fatigue following a lecture tour.
In December 2011, he was hospitalized after striking his head in a fall before a scheduled television appearance that was being broadcast from the McGovern Library at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Earlier this year, McGovern was evaluated at a hospital near his Florida home after suffering from brief fainting spells.
McGovern served in the U.S. Senate for South Dakota from 1963 to 1981. He made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Nixon in 1972 on a platform opposing the Vietnam war.
The son of a Methodist minister, McGovern flew combat missions over Europe as a B-24 bomber pilot during World War Two, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also headed the Food for Peace program during the administration of President John F. Kennedy.
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Sandra Maler)