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WASHINGTON (AP) — Robert C. Byrd, the longest serving member of the U.S. Senate, a fiery orator and hard-charging power broker who steered billions of federal dollars to his beloved West Virginia, died Monday. He was 92.
A spokesman for the family, Jesse Jacobs, said that Byrd died peacefully at about 3 a.m. at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va. He had been in the hospital since late last week.
At first Byrd was believed to be suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, but other medical conditions developed. He had been in frail health for several years.
A man of humble, Depression-era upbringing, Byrd held his seat for over 50 years, working tirelessly all that time to make sure his state never missed out on its share — or even more, in some cases — of the federal largesse. He was the Senate's majority leader for six of those years and was third in the line of succession to the presidency, behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.