Jack Kemp – the charamastic football star who became a long-serving U.S. congressman, cabinet member and vice presidential nominee, has died of cancer at the age of 73.
Kemp’s son, Jimmy Kemp, says the former Buffalo Bills quarterback died Saturday at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.
Kemp’s office announced in January that he had been diagnosed with an unspecificed type of cancer. By then, however, the cancer was in an advanced stage and had spread to several organs.
Kemp, a native of Los Angeles, played six-plus seasons with the Buffalo Bills and also played for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. A five time American Football League all-star, he won the AFL Most Valuable Player award in 1965 after leading the Bills to a second consecutive league championship.
He was elected to Congress in 1970 and represented the Buffalo area in Congress for nine terms. His achievements there included the Kemp-Roth tax cuts.
He served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George H.W. Bush after running unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. He was Sen. Bob Dole’s running mate on the Republican ticket in 1996.
President Barack Obama issued a statement Sunday praising Kemp’s achievements and said he and the first lady extend their prayers and condolences to the entire Kemp family.
Former President George W. Bush expressed his sorrow after hearing of Kemp’s death.
“Laura and I are saddened by the death of Jack Kemp.” he said. “Jack will be remembered for his significant contributions to the Reagan revolution and his steadfast dedication to conservative principles during his long and distinguished career in public service. Jack’s wife Joanne and the rest of the Kemp family are in our thoughts and prayers.”
Kemp married his college sweetheart Joanne in 1958. They had four children.
Funeral arrangments are pending.
(Photo: Getty Images)