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Three-time US presidential candidate Bob Dole dies in his sleep

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Agency Report

Bob Dole, who battled back from being severely wounded in World War II to become a five-term US senator and the Republican Party’s 1996 presidential nominee, died on Sunday at the age of 98.

As tributes poured in for the veteran politician, President Joe Biden paid respect to his “friend” and “an American statesman like few in our history” by ordering flags to fly at half-staff on federal grounds through Thursday.

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Dole died in his sleep early Sunday morning, according to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which is named after his wife. The longtime senator had disclosed in February that he was being treated for stage four lung cancer.

“America has lost one of its heroes, our family has lost its rock,” his family said in a statement. “Our grief is softened by our gratitude for having shared in so vibrant a life.”

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Dole captured the Republican White House nomination on his third attempt in 1996, but went on to lose the race to Democrat Bill Clinton — 20 years after losing the 1976 election as Gerald Ford’s running mate.

A conservative and fiercely partisan Republican who campaigned for reining in government, Dole also had a pragmatic streak and sponsored bipartisan legislation during his 35 years in Congress.

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He played a key role in the expansion of the food stamp program in the 1970s, the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1982 and the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

Dole was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian honor, by Clinton in 1997.

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