Tributes poured in for the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and former Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) after he passed away early Thursday morning at 81 years-old.
According to a statement released by two former aides, Brad White and Chris Gallegos, Cochran — who served in the Senate from 1978 until April of last year — died peacefully in Oxford, Mississippi. He had resigned from the Senate in 2018 citing health concerns.
Statement from U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's office following his death. pic.twitter.com/PjLyFnspOu
— Ryan Phillips (@JournoRyan) May 30, 2019
People from both sides of the aisle paid tribute to the senator following his death, recognizing his life of service to the people of Mississippi and the nation.
Saddened to hear of Senator Thad Cochran’s passing. I had the pleasure of serving with him on the Senate Appropriations Committee for many years. He was a true gentleman. My thoughts are with his family and the people of Mississippi.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 30, 2019
For over 45 years, Senator Thad Cochran represented the people of Mississippi in Congress with honor.
We remember his life and thank him for his service to our nation.
Rest in Peace, Senator Cochran. pic.twitter.com/dGa1exSwcZ
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) May 30, 2019
Thad Cochran was one of the most personally decent, nicest people I’ve met in my career in the Senate. He will be missed. https://t.co/muIdeLVpUH
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 30, 2019
When I became a member of the Senate, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran was who I watched. He taught me and so many others a great deal about effective service in the U.S. Senate. My prayers are with his family. I spoke about him as he retired last year: https://t.co/fwj2hrOme4.
— Johnny Isakson (@SenatorIsakson) May 30, 2019
Thad Cochran was a giant in the United States Senate and one of the greatest champions Mississippi has ever known. My wife, Gayle, and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Cochran family at this time. My full statement. ⤵ https://t.co/YYfXkqffmc pic.twitter.com/1CpjcjLuIi
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) May 30, 2019
Senator Thad Cochran was a gentleman, a scholar, & a wonderful friend. From his enlistment in the Navy to his decades as Mississippi’s Senator, he served his country & his state well. My condolences to his wife Kay & to his children & to the people of the state he so loved.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) May 30, 2019
RIP, Thad Cochran.
Passed away peacefully this morning, in Oxford, per the office of his successor.
His last few years might not have been his sharpest, but he was a force inside the chamber for 35 years or so.
Part of the early wave of GOP winning southern Senate seats.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) May 30, 2019
Saddened to hear of the passing of former senator and Navy veteran Thad Cochran. Our nation is grateful for his lifetime of service and Jaime and I extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones during this time.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) May 30, 2019
My heart is heavy at the loss of my former US Senate colleague, Thad Cochran. He served our country and the people of Mississippi with dignity and dedication. Bruce and I are praying for Kay and the rest of the Cochran family.
— Senator Deb Fischer (@SenatorFischer) May 30, 2019
Our thoughts go out to Senator Thad Cochran's friends and family. He was a true patriot and champion for Mississippi values. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/LVlM680RPX
— The Senate Majority (@NRSC) May 30, 2019
President Donald Trump also gave his condolences in a tweet, praising the late senator for his incredible values and fighting through illness to fly “back to the Senate from Mississippi” for a vote on health care legislation.
“Very sad to hear the news on the passing of my friend, Senator Thad Cochran,” the president wrote. “He was a real senator with incredible values — even flew back to Senate from Mississippi for important healthcare vote when he was desperately ill. Thad never let our country (or me) down!”
Very sad to hear the news on the passing of my friend, Senator Thad Cochran. He was a real Senator with incredible values – even flew back to Senate from Mississippi for important Healthcare Vote when he was desperately ill. Thad never let our Country (or me) down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
Cochran was an influential member of the Senate, serving as chairman of both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee during his tenure in office, and was well-regarded by his colleagues.
“Some people say that Thad Cochran is the last true southern gentleman, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Some people say that he represents the lost art of being nice,” said his Senate Appropriations chair successor Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) after Cochran announced his retirement.
At the time of his election, Cochran was the first Republican to hold office in the Senate in over a century. Prior to the Senate, he served three terms in the House of Representatives.