Previous U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the political pugilist who rose from a one-room Southern Nevada shack to become among the most influential individuals in American Politics, passed away on Tuesday. He was 82.
Reason of Death:
Reid was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2018. He underwent surgery in 2018 for pancreatic cancer, KLAS-TV reported. He said last year that his cancer was in remission, according to the news station.
His wife, Landra Reid, said in a statement that he died “peacefully” and surrounded by friends “following a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.”
“We are so proud of the legacy he leaves behind both on the national stage and [in] his beloved Nevada,” Landra Reid said in the statement. They’d been married for 62 years.
United States Senate: [Democratic Party]
The current Senate leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said of Reid in a statement:
“He was tough-as-nails strong, but caring and compassionate, and always went out of his way quietly to help people who needed help. He was a boxer who came from humble origins, but he never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor and the middle class.”
Over a 34-year career in Washington, Reid thrived on behind-the-scenes wrangling and kept the Senate controlled by his party through two presidents — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama — a crippling recession and the Republican takeover of the House after the 2010 elections.
He retired in 2016 after an accident left him blind in one eye.
President Joe Biden, who served with Reid in the Senate for two decades before he became vice president alongside Obama in 2009 and for eight years after that, called Reid “a dear friend and a giant of our history” on Tuesday.
“I’ve had the honor of serving with some of the all-time great Senate majority leaders in our history,” he said. “Harry Reid was one of them. And for Harry, it wasn’t about power for power’s sake. It was about the power to do right for the people.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak remembered Reid as “a mentor, father figure and someone I always looked up to.”
“There will never be another leader like him,” he said in a post on Twitter. “Senator Reid will be deeply missed but the mark he left on our state will last forever.”
Senator Harry Reid was a mentor, father figure, and someone I always looked up to—There will never be another leader like him.
Kathy and I send our condolences to Landra and the Reid family.
Senator Reid will be deeply missed but the mark he left on our state will last forever. pic.twitter.com/FU08pACpo0
— Steve Sisolak (@SteveSisolak) December 29, 2021
Obama on Tuesday shared a letter that he wrote to Reid at the request of his wife after the former senator’s health began to decline.
“You were a great leader in the Senate, and early on you were more generous to me than I had any right to expect,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t have been president had it not been for your encouragement and support, and I wouldn’t have got most of what I got done without your skill and determination.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the Nevada Democrat “one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met” in a statement published on social media.
“He was a boxer who came from humble origins, but he never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor and the middle class. He was my leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends.”
Harry Reid was one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met
He never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor & the middle class
He’s gone but will walk by the sides of many of us in the Senate every day pic.twitter.com/8T9PiD7vY4
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 29, 2021