Harry Reid rose from poverty to become a powerful partisan Senator during an era of gridlock in Washington. Reid passed away on Tuesday at the age of 82.
The former amateur boxer, who represented Nevada in the U.S. Congress as a Democrat for over 30 years, died of pancreatic cancer, his 62-year-old wife, Landra, said.
“I’ve had the honor of serving with some of the all-time great Senate Majority Leaders in our history. 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,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a written statement.
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said that the country had lost an honorable public servant, adding that Reid made a meaningful impact on people’s lives.
Obama shared a letter he had written to Reid on Tuesday on social media:
“You were a great leader in the Senate, and early on, you were more generous to me than I had any right to expect,” Obama said in the letter. “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.”
His wife and five children survive him.