(Reuters) — Former Republican U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, 98, died on Sunday.
Here are some quick facts about him:
* Robert Joseph Dole was born on July 22, 1923, one of four children of a grain elevator manager and traveling saleswoman in Russell, Kansas. During the Great Depression of the 1930s his family moved into their basement and rented out the rest of their home. Dole later went to the University of Kansas and played basketball under legendary coach Phog Allen.
* After serving in the Kansas legislature, Dole was elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 1960. He was elected to the Senate in 1968 and re-elected four times.
* Dole twice served as Senate Republican leader and earned a reputation as an effective middle-of-the-road legislator who was well-liked among Democrats as well as Republicans for his ability to build coalitions.
* Dole was part of four unsuccessful presidential campaigns. In 1976 he was President Gerald Ford’s vice-presidential choice but that ticket was lost to Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. Dole ran for president in 1980 but lost the Republican nomination to Ronald Reagan and eight years later Republicans chose George H.W. Bush over him. Dole won the Republican nomination in 1996 but was defeated by incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton.
* Dole won two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in World War Two, and was wounded in Italy shortly before the end of the conflict. He needed nine operations and 39 months to recover from wounds that destroyed his right shoulder, paralyzed his arm, broke vertebrae, riddled his body with shrapnel and cost him a kidney.
* Dole not only appeared in television commercials for the anti-impotency drug Viagra in 1996, he also helped test it. “It’s a little embarrassing to talk about ED (erectile dysfunction) but it’s so important to millions of men and their partners that I decided to talk about it publicly,” he said in the commercial. While he did not specifically endorse Viagra, he urged men to see their doctors if they have problems. Dole was diagnosed in 1991 with prostate cancer, which can cause impotence.