‘A consummate statesman’: Former Sen. John Warner dies at age 94

Former U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-VA) died on Tuesday at the age of 94, Politico reported.

An email statement from his long-serving chief of staff to reporters confirmed that the elder GOP statesman succumbed to heart failure.

His wife, Jeanne, and daughter, Virginia, were both by his side at the time of his death, Susan Magill added.

“How blessed I have been”

Warner was born and raised in the nation’s capital before moving to Virginia, which he would represent in the Senate for five consecutive terms beginning in 1979.

Prior to his tenure in Congress, he served as secretary of the U.S. Navy during the Nixon administration. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, having served in both the Navy and Marine Corps.

According to Politico, Warner released a handwritten note to constituents in 2007 explaining his decision not to seek a sixth term in the following year’s election.

In it, he described his terms in the Senate as “a privilege,” adding: “How fortunate, how blessed I have been.”

“The right Warner won that race”

His successor notably shared a surname. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, was among the prominent politicos who released a statement commemorating his predecessor’s life.

“John Warner was a consummate statesman and a public servant who always put Virginia before politics; who put the nation’s security before partisanship; who put the country’s needs above his own,” the current  senator explained.

Recalling his loss to the Republican in the 1996 election, Mark Warner added: “I’ve often said since that the right Warner won that race. And one way that I know that is that even though we came from different political parties – even though we ran spirited, albeit respectful, campaigns that year – as soon as the election was called, it was over.”

Although he described his GOP counterpart as “already a towering institution in Virginia politics” and himself as “just some young upstart,” Mark Warner said he was “incredibly privileged” to have the opportunity to become John Warner’s friend.

Outside of the political realm, the elder Warner was known as actress Elizabeth Taylor’s sixth husband, though their marriage ended in divorce a few years after he was first elected to the Senate, according to People.

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