Former Senator, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, who played a major role in President Obama’s most essential legislative accomplishments, died at age 82 of pancreatic cancer. His death was announced by political reporter Jon Ralston, who called Reid, “probably the most important elected official in Nevada history.”
“Harry Reid was one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “He was my leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends.”
Reid was elected a Senate Democrat in 1998, and to majority leader from 2006-2014 before checking out of politics in 2017. The Senator was one of the few politicians who was unafraid to engage in tense discourse on the Senate floor. This garnered him a reputation of being divisive. Reid named Chuck Schumer as his successor in May of 2017
According to The Hill, Senator Reid recently had an airport renamed in his honor. “For my whole life I’ve been coming and going from McCarran Airport, since the first time I ever got on a plane, back in 1958. This airport has been my gateway to the world,” he said in a statement. “During my 35 years in Washington, I was here a lot. Home means Nevada, and for me, the airport long ago became synonymous with home,” he added.
Reid underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his pancreas in May, an operation that left him frail and needing a walker.
In an interview earlier this year, Reid told Times reporter Mark Leibovich with his trademark bluntness, “As soon as you discover you have something on your pancreas, you’re dead.”