Former Democratic Senator and ex-presidential nominee George McGovern is near death in hospice care, according to a statement released by his family.
The family’s statement says that McGovern, who suffered a crushing defeat by Richard Nixon in 1972, is at a South Dakota hospice center suffering from a combination of medical conditions due to age, which have recently become worse, reports Reuters.
The 90-year-old former senator’s family stated:
“The senator is no longer responsive. He is surrounded by his loving family and close friends.”
George McGovern served in the Senate for South Dakota between 1963 and 1981. During that time, he challenged Nixon in 1972 with a platform that opposed the war in Vietnam. He ended up suffering one of the most lopsided defeats in history, garnering just 37.5 percent of the vote.
McGovern’s legacy is more than his defeat by Nixon however, as the long-time Senator was a major advocate of social issues, including world hunger and AIDS, according to Donald Simmons, the director of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Weslyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota. Simmons stated:
“Outside of the US, he is known for his real humanitarian efforts and I think that will be one of his greatest long term legacies.”
CNN notes that, after losing a 1980 bid for a fourth Senate term, George McGovern remained active in politics and was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton to ban an ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as a 2001 appointment as the UN’s first global ambassador for hunger.
George McGovern’s family encouraged those wishing to offer remembrances of the former senator to donate to Feeding South Dakota in his honor.