Fred Thompson was many things: a former US senator, a GOP Presidential candidate, a respected statesman, and an actor. At 73, Fred died Sunday after a recurring battle with lymphoma, The Tennessean reports. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2004.
Fred Thompson’s family confirmed his death by issuing an official statement on Sunday.
“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family.
Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar, and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home.”
Standing six feet and five inches, Fred Thompson was a commanding figure who became a prominent figure in the political landscape of of Tennessee and the United States. He was born in 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama but grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Fred served as an attorney for the Watergate Committee and gained national notice for his efforts at investigating the scandal Richard Nixon was involved in in the early 70’s.
In the 80’s, Thompson became an actor, landing prominent roles in films such as Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear, The Hunt for Red October (with Harrison Ford), Die Hard 2 (with Bruce Willis), and Days of Thunder (with Tom Cruise). He also played a role on NBC’s Law and Order as District Attorney Arthur Branch for five years. He recently appeared in the 2012 horror film Sinister and in the now-defunct 2015 NBC series Allegiance, according to Deadline.
See his final scene on Law and Order below.
The call to serve his home state Tennessee proved too hard to resist. In 1994, Fred Thompson ran for the Senate seat left by then-Vice President Al Gore in 1994. During his campaign, Fred blazed across the state of Tennessee riding a rented red pickup truck before defeating Democrat Jim Cooper in a year that would go down as a dominant election cycle for Republicans. He was re-elected in 1996 and served his term in the Senate until 2002.
During the 2008 GOP primary, Fred’s supporters encouraged him to leave his role as District Attorney Branch on Law and Order so that he could make a bid for the presidency. He briefly led the polls following the announcement of his his candidacy in September of 2007 but withdrew early the next year due to declining poll numbers.
Numerous political figures and prominent celebrities took to social media to honor Fred Thompson’s memory and to express their condolences.
This is very sad news. Fred Thompson was a genuinely good guy. RIP https://t.co/FoCwRsLJP4— Brit Hume (@brithume) November 1, 2015
Fred Thompson lived an amazing life, he will be sorely missed. Columba and my prayers are with Jeri and his his kids & grandkids— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 1, 2015
In amazing life, Fred Thompson was man who got Alexander Butterfield to reveal Nixon's taping system and wrote a 1970s book on Watergate.— Walter Shapiro (@MrWalterShapiro) November 1, 2015
Deeply saddened by the passing of Fred Thompson, a dear friend & great senator. My thoughts & prayers are with his wife Jeri & family. RIP.— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 1, 2015
Our family was saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Fred Thompson. He was a good man and our prayers are with his family— Tim McGraw (@TheTimMcGraw) November 1, 2015
Fred Thompson is survived by his wife, Jeri Thompson; their children, Hayden and Sammy; his adult children, Tony and Dan; and five grandchildren.
[Photo by J. Emilio Flores/Getty Images]