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Colleagues mourn Arlen Specter's passing

Arlen SpecterDemocratic PartyCancerEugene DePasqualeJoe Sestak

Former United States Senator Arlen Specter passed away Sunday.

His son announced the 82-year-old passed away at his home in Philadelphia from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

"He was Pennsylvania's longest serving senator and he really represented a different breed of politician which was someone who is willing to compromise," said Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-95th District).

Specter's colleagues across the board say he'll be remembered most for how hard he fought for the people of Pennsylvania.

President Obama released a statement on his passing which reads in part: "When he announced that his cancer had returned in 2005, Arlen said, "I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass heart surgery and many tough political opponents and I'm going to beat this, too." Arlen fought that battle for seven more years with the same resolve he used to fight for stem-cell research funding, veterans health, and countless other issues that will continue to change lives for years to come."

Specter announced his decision to switch from Republican to Democrat in 2009. The move ultimately ended his 30-year career in the Senate.

In 2010, Democrats chose former United States Representative Joe Sestak over him the primary. Sestak lost Specter's seat to Republican Pat Toomey.

Senator Toomey released a statement on Specter's passing that reads in part: "A man of sharp intelligence and dogged determination, Senator Specter dedicated his life to public service and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His impact on our state and public policy will not be forgotten."

"There was nobody in Pennsylvania nor do I think there ever will be who is as good and as tough a fighter as Arlen Specter. He really made you reach beyond your grasp. If there's a legacy and a standard that he has established in PA, it's that he fought for American people and their families," Sestak said on Fox News.

Specter's funeral is Tuesday in Penn Valley and will be open to the public. His family is asking donations be made to Philadelphia University or another charity in lieu of flowers.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Arlen SpecterDemocratic PartyCancerEugene DePasqualeJoe Sestak