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Arlen Specter dies of cancer at 82

Mackenzie Dye

Arlen Specter is known for his work as a Pennsylvania senator

The former senator passed away Oct. 14

Arlen Specter died Sunday, Oct. 14 from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 82. The former Pennsylvania senator had been hospitalized since August 2012.

The senator struggled with this form of cancer, and announced so publicly in 2005 when he said he was being treated for stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 

“I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass heart surgery and many tough political opponents and I’m going to beat this, too,” said Arlen Specter during his announcement.

Although the cancer did go into remission, it resurfaced in 2008 and 2012.  Arlen Specter had also faced a brain tumor and cardiac arrest previous to his longtime battle with the cancer.

Known for his controversial switch in partisanship, Arlen Specter went from being a moderate Republican to joining the Democratic Party in 2009. He did not return to congress after being defeated in the Democratic primary of 2010.

Many in the political world are feeling the loss of the well known senator, including President Obama, who released a statement expressing his gratitude for Specter’s work and courage, according to the Huffington Post:

“Arlen Specter was always a fighter. From his days stamping out corruption as a prosecutor in Philadelphia to his three decades of service in the Senate, Arlen was fiercely independent – never putting party or ideology ahead of the people he was chosen to serve. He brought that same toughness and determination to his personal struggles, using his own story to inspire others.”

The funeral for Specter is scheduled for Oct. 16 in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, which will be held open to the public. The senator will be buried in Huntingdon Valley.

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