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Former Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham dies at 87

Sen. Bob Graham attends Miami Book Fair on Nov. 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Aaron Davidson/WireImage)

(NEW YORK) — Bob Graham, a former senator, Florida Democratic governor and one-time presidential candidate, has died at 87, his family announced Tuesday night.


“We are deeply saddened to report the passing of a visionary leader, dedicated public servant, and even more importantly, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather: Bob Graham,” read a statement from the family on X.

The Bob Graham Center for Public Service also confirmed the former senator’s death, sharing a photo gallery of his life. The center also posted a statement on X, reading “The Bob Graham Center community is deeply saddened by the death of our beloved founder, former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. We honor his historic legacy and life of service.”

The family said Graham, the son of a state senator who served three terms as senator in the U.S. Senate himself, “devoted his life to the betterment of the world around him. The memorials to that devotion are everywhere — from the Everglades and other natural treasures he was determined to preserve, to the colleges and universities he championed with his commitment to higher education, to the global understanding he helped foster through his work with the intelligence community, and so many more.”

Graham’s love of nature began early. He was brought up on a cattle and dairy farm in the Everglades, according to the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

He studied at the University of Florida and later received a law degree from Harvard, starting his political career locally a short time after, serving in the Florida House of Representatives.

His next political move was to Florida’s Governor’s mansion, where he served three terms, from 1979-1987.

Graham then headed to Washington, D.C., serving as one of the state’s two senators from 1987 to 2005.

After leaving Washington, Graham became a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

In 2010, then-President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

He was also chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, per the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, per the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

“While he valued his opportunities to represent others in public office, the jobs Bob Graham most loved were those he spent working alongside everyday Floridians,” his family said in their statement Tuesday.

One of his greatest joys in life was also being a grandfather.

“Bob Graham would tell people his favorite title was not Governor or Senator,” the family’s statement read. “It was the name his grandchildren gave him: Doodle. ‘When I’m really good, they call me Super Doodle,’ he liked to say. For 87 years, Bob Graham was so much more than really good.”

His family called him “unforgettable.”

“As his family, we will never forget his love for us, the love he had for Florida, the United States, and the world, and the love so many people showed him. We thank God for the gift of his life,” their statement concluded.

He is survived by his wife, Adele Khoury Graham, four children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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