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Former Democratic Senator Harry Reid Dies at 82

AP Photo/John Locher, File

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-N.V.), who served in Congress from 1983 until 2017, died Tuesday at the age of 82 following a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.


Reid, a notable figure in Nevada politics, served in the Nevada Assembly for two years starting in 1969 before he was sworn in as the state's lieutenant governor, serving from 1971 to 1975. He later served in the U.S. House of Representatives for four years, from 1983 to 1987, prior to his election to the Senate, where he served from 1987 until his retirement in 2017. He was the Senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015.

"I am heartbroken to announce the passing of my husband, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid," Reid's wife, Landra Reid, said in a statement. "He died peacefully this afternoon, surrounded by our family, following a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Harry was 82 years old. We were married for 62 years."

"We are so proud of the legacy he leaves behind both on the national stage and his beloved Nevada," she continued. "Harry was deeply touched to see his decades of service to Nevada honored in recent weeks with the re-naming of Las Vegas’ airport in his honor. Harry was a devout family man and deeply loyal friend."


The Nevada senator became most well known for his use of the "nuclear option" in 2013, when he pushed for an end to the filibuster on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees outside of those nominated to the Supreme Court.

He also bucked his party a number of times regarding the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which he believed should be overturned, and played a central role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009, leading efforts to unify all 60 members of the Democratic caucus in support of the legislation.

Current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement following news of Reid's death that the Nevada lawmaker "was one of the most amazing individuals I've ever met."

Reid is survived by his wife, Landra, and his five children: Rory Reid, Leif Reid, Key Reid, Josh Reid and Lana Reid.

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