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Former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar dies at 87

By Daniel Uria
Former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar dies at 87
Former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar died Sunday at the age of 87, due to complications from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- Former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar died at the age of 87 early Sunday morning, according to a statement from his nonprofit.

The six-term Republican senator and former Indianapolis mayor died at 1:44 a.m. at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia due to complications from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, The Lugar Center announced in a statement.

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"His loving wife Char, four sons Mark, Bob, John and David and their families were with him throughout his short illness in the hospital," the nonprofit said. "The Lugar Family expresses their deepest thanks to Dr. Megan Terek and her staff for the exceptional and compassionate care that they provided."

Lugar was born in Indianapolis on April 4, 1932 where he graduated first in his class at Shortridge High School. He went on to study politics, philosophy and economics at Denison University, Pembroke College at Oxford University in England and as a Rhodes scholar.

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He married his wife, Charlene on Sept. 8 1956 and went on to volunteer for the U.S. Navy in 1957, serving as an intelligence briefer.

Lugar was elected to two terms as the mayor of his home town of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1975 where he implemented his so-called Unigov plan to unify the city and surrounding Marion County into one government.

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He mounted his first campaign for the Senate in 1974, losing to incumbent Democrat Birch Bayh, who died last month at the age of 91.

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In 1977, Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Indiana and retired in 2013 as the longest serving member of Congress in the state's history. He also launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996.

During his time in Congress he became known for his work involving, food security, free trade, energy independence and nuclear non-proliferation.

One of his most notable achievements was establishing the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program in 1992 along with Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., which deactivated 7, 619 nuclear warheads once aimed at the United States, destroyed 902 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 2,855 metric tons of chemical weapons agent and built 38 biological threat monitoring stations.

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The program was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times beginning in 2000.

Lugar was recognized for his work in politics by receiving multiple awards and accolades, including honorary knighthood from the Queen of England and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

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