SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- George S. McGovern, a proud liberal who argued fervently against the Vietnam War as a senator from South Dakota and suffered one of the most crushing defeats in presidential election history against Richard Nixon in 1972, died before dawn Sunday. He was 90.
A spokesman for McGovern’s family, Steve Hildebrand, told The Associated Press by telephone that McGovern died at 5:15 a.m. Sunday at a hospice in Sioux Falls, surrounded by family and lifelong friends.
“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer,” a family statement released by Hildebrand said.
A funeral will be held in Sioux Falls, with details announced shortly, Hildebrand said.
A decorated World War II bomber pilot, McGovern said he learned to hate war by waging it. In his disastrous race against Nixon, he promised to end the conflict in Vietnam and cut defense spending by billions of dollars. He helped create the Food for Peace program and spent much of his career believing the United States should be more accommodating to the former Soviet Union.
Never a showman, he made his case with a style as plain as the prairies where he grew up, often sounding more like the Methodist minister he’d once studied to be than a longtime U.S. senator and three-time candidate for president.
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