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Former Virginia Senator John Warner dies at age 94

John Warner at an event in Charlottesville (FILE)
John Warner at an event in Charlottesville (FILE)(WVIR)
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Known as a powerful U.S. Senate Republican and national security hawk, Virginians are mourning the loss of former Senator John Warner.

“Virginia is just in such a debt to this man,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, (D) Virginia.

Warner fought in both World War II and the Korean War. He served as the Secretary of the Navy, and then represented the commonwealth in the senate from 1979 to 2009.

“John Warner reflected that ability to disagree with somebody without being disagreeable. The absolute commitment to Virginia and our country first and I was proud to call him a mentor,” said Sen. Mark Warner, (D) Virginia.

John Warner is also famously known as being Elizabeth Taylor’s sixth husband.

“She helped him although he knew exactly what he was doing politically. She wasn’t that crazy about politics as we learned later,” said Larry Sabato, UVa Center for Politics.

Warner was a centrist Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee who supported the war in Iraq.

“I can’t count the number of times he went to Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere all around the world studying our defense posture and improving it,” said Sabato.

Sabato says Warner’s time in office bookends the rise and fall of the state Republican Party in the state.

The party hasn’t won a statewide race for office since 2009.

“Not many people thought he’d last that long. They thought he was going to be a one-term wonder. Well, he fooled them,” said Sabato.

President Joe Biden, who served alongside Warner in the senate for three decades, released a statement saying in part, “The John Warner I knew was guided by two things: his conscience and our Constitution. And, when acting in accordance with both, he neither wavered in his convictions nor was concerned with the consequences.”

Meanwhile, Virginia republicans are also mourning the loss, saying Senator Warner endured because the people of Virginia knew he put their interests first.

Warner leaves behind a wife and three adult children. He died late Tuesday of heart failure at his home in Alexandria. He was surrounded by family.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the state flag be flown at half-staff over the state capitol on the day of Warner’s funeral.

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