Fred Thompson, the former U.S. senator from Tennessee, “Law & Order” actor and presidential candidate, died Sunday at age 73 after battling a reoccurrence of lymphoma.
The Thompson family announced the news in a statement published in The Tennessean.
“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the statement said. “Fred once said that the experiences he had growing up in small-town Tennessee formed the prism through which he viewed the world and shaped the way he dealt with life.”
Thompson was born in 1942 and served in the U.S. Senate from December 1994 to January 2003. He ran for president in 2008, and topped the polls with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, though neither secured the Republican nomination. After he lost in South Carolina, Thompson dropped out in late January.
“Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar, and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home,” the family’s statement continued. “Fred believed that the greatness of our nation was defined by the hard work, faith, and honesty of its people. He had an enduring belief in the exceptionalism of our country, and that America could provide the opportunity for any boy or girl, in any corner of our country, to succeed in life.”
After leaving the U.S. Senate, Thompson played District Attorney Arthur Branch on “Law & Order” for five straight seasons, leaving the show to run for president.