After representing Mississippi in Congress for more than 45 years, former senator Thad Cochran died early Thursday morning at the age of 81.
According to a statement from former aides Brad White and Chris Gallegos now working with the office of Cindy Hyde-Smith, he passed away peacefully in Oxford, Mississippi.
“Cochran’s family extends its gratitude for the support shown to the Senator by Mississippians over the years,” they said in the statement.
Current senator Roger Wicker released a statement in regard to Cochran. “I am grateful and honored to have known him, learned from him and been his friend. America is a better country because of Thad Cochran,” the statement said.
The news of Cochran’s death comes a little over a year after Cochran resigned from the Senate in April 2018 due to health concerns.
In his last days as senator, Cochran tweeted, “Thank you to the people of Mississippi for the honor and privilege of representing you. God bless our great state.”
Thank you to the people of Mississippi for the honor and privilege of representing you. God bless our great state.
— Senator Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran) April 2, 2018
Cochran was the first Republican to represent Mississippi since Reconstruction to be elected to statewide office. Prior to being elected senator, he served in the United States Navy and then as a member of the House of Representatives.
Survivors include by his wife, Kay Webber, his daughter and Southern Miss English professor, Kate Cochran, and his son, Clayton Cochran.