Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia – the longest-serving member of the U.S. Congress, – died at approximately 3:00 a.m. EST Monday at Virginia’s Inova Fairfax Hospital, RadarOnline.com has learned.
“I am saddened that the family of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., tearfully announces the passing of the longest serving member of Congress in US history,” a spokesman for the late senator’s office, Mark Ferrell, said in a statement.
Officials have yet to announce the cause of death, as Ferrell said “further details will become available throughout the day.”
Byrd’s legacy is summed up by his longevity, as the politician remained a member of Congress from January 3, 1953 until his death. He’d cast more than 18,680 roll call votes and had a near-98 percent attendance record. His politics changed in that span too, as went from being a member of the Ku Klux Klan and opponent of civil rights in the mid-60s to an ardent Barack Obama supporter by 2008.
Byrd is survived by two daughters, six grandchildren and five great granddaughters.