Longtime Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran dead at 81

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) speaks at 'Making AIDS History: A Roadmap for Ending the Epidemic' at the Hart Senate Building on June 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Former Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who served in Congress for more than 45 years and chaired the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, died Thursday. He was 81.

Cochran resigned from the Senate in April 2018, citing health reasons.

According to a statement from the office of his successor, Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Cochran “passed away peacefully early Thursday morning in Oxford.” Services for Cochran are pending.

On Capitol Hill, Cochran, a Navy veteran, rose through the ranks of the Senate to chair both the appropriations and agriculture committees.

“Cochran’s family extends its gratitude for the support shown to the Senator by Mississippians over the years," Hyde-Smith said in the statement.

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