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Courtesy Dole Institute of Politics

Bob Dole, longtime Senate leader and World War II veteran, died Sunday. He was 98. 

His death was confirmed by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation in a statement Sunday.

Dole was a founding member of Moffitt Cancer Center’s national Board of Advisors. He joined in 2005 after being recruited by former ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, founding chair of Moffitt’s Board of Advisors, and Sen. Connie Mack, who was the chair of Moffitt’s Institute Board of Directors at the time. 

“In his public positions of power, Bob Dole championed government programs to help ordinary people in their time of need. And when we invited him to join our Board of Advisors here at Moffitt, he readily agreed even though he had not suffered a bout with cancer as of that time,” said Donaldson.

In February, Dole announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and started treatment. He acknowledged that he would have hurdles ahead and that he joined millions of Americans who faced significant health challenges of their own.

Before starting his career in politics, Dole joined the military in 1945, with hopes to become a doctor. But things quickly changed during WWII, when he was severely injured after an exploding shell left him paralyzed from the neck down. He spent the next three years recovering in an Army hospital.

Dole received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star Medal.  

Years later, Dole started his journey into politics, when he was elected U.S. Representative for his home state of Kansas. Eight years later he won his first Senate seat, where he set the record for longest-serving Senate majority leader.

During his career span on Capitol Hill, Dole supported several key U.S. initiatives such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Food for Peace Act and making health care more accessible to those living in rural areas.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden reflected on the life of Dole calling him a friend and someone he could look to for trusted guidance.

“Bob was a man to be admired by Americans. He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor. May God bless him, and may our nation draw upon his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time,” said Biden.