Former Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, a former Republican who served as Secretary of the Navy and one of the Senate's military experts, has died at the age of 94, his longtime official said on Wednesday.
Warner died Tuesday from a heart attack at home in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and daughter next to him, Susan A. Magill said.
"She was weak but very energetic and participated until her last days," said Magill.
Warner, a court official who played celebrities and married Elizabeth Taylor when she was elected to the Senate in 1978, went on to serve five sentences before retiring from the chamber in 2008. He garnered the support of the leaders of both major parties, establishing himself at the center of American politics.
He was a staunch supporter of President George W. Bush's declaration of war in Iraq, and for a time he served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He had an independent streak that sometimes annoyed GOP leaders who were considerate. But he was very popular with Virginia voters.
Being the sixth of Taylor's seven husbands did not hurt when Warner ran for Senate. The two were married in 1976 and divorced in 1982. Taylor later wrote that they had always been friends, but he “just couldn't stand the loneliness” when he entered his Senate career.
He was ousted in 2008 by Democrat Mark Warner - no relationship - who had challenged him in the Senate in 1996 and continued to run for president of Virginia. After years of conflict, the two became good friends. Mark Warner said his friend "summarizes what it means to be a senator."
"For me, he was a gold standard in Virginia," Warner said Wednesday, writing on Twitter that he was "disturbed" by the news. "I will always thank him for his friendship and his mind. I will miss you, John."
As the organisation's senator, Warner garnered presidential support from both parties. The court senator with the sculptures and the gruesome gray hair was so popular with Virginia voters that the Democrats did not bother to challenge him in 2002 for his re-election as his fifth.
"Virginia knows I stand for what I think is right, and I accept the consequences," Warner said in 1996.
"Virginia has lost an incomparable leader, and my family has lost a dear friend," said Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va. “When I arrived in the Senate, I understood John Warner's influence very much. I even got to know John McCain, Carl Levin, and many of his fellow worshipers and testified to his integrity and to the great influence he had on his beloved body. ”
Warner had been a first-time supporter of McCain's presidential campaign, approving his senator in February 2007.
Senen Ben Cardin, D-Md., Wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that Warner's ministry "will never be forgotten."
“When I first came to the Senate, he was a strong regional partner,” he wrote. "Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads but have found common ground in the ecosystem, in Chesapeake Bay, the Metro and elsewhere."
Senen Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote on Twitter that he and his wife were saddened to hear of the death of their colleague, saying that Warner had "served his country as a veteran and become a manager" and that he had enjoyed his friendship and relationship for 28 years. "
The Virginia government Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said in a statement that his government and nation had "lost a bully" and ordered that a government flag fly at people working inside the Virginia Capitol on the day of his funeral.
A former secretary of the Navy, a veteran of World War II and Korea, Warner devoted much of his work to military affairs. He lost his position as chairman of the Armed Services Committee in 2001 when Sen.Jim Jeffords' departure from the GOP put Democrats in charge of the Senate, but he pushed back after the 2002 election to bring Republicans back to the 2006 election.
Warner often defended Bush's administration in the war in Iraq, but also showed determination to seize the White House.
After a trip to Iraq in 2007, Warner asked Bush to begin bringing troops home. He called on top Pentagon officials to be heard about the scandal surrounding Abu Ghraib prison and Iraq war. Years ago, he filed a critical vote banning President Reagan's nomination in the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Robert Bork, a favorite of lawmakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Called Warner a "military hero and a respected leader in the Senate."
"In Congress, we all know him as a voice of courage, faith and freedom; a leader who is not afraid to speak the truth but is always committed to finding common ground and consensus," he said in a statement on Wednesday.