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rest in peace

Biden mourns former Senator Max Cleland as 'one of Georgia's and America's great leaders'

President Biden has issued a statement regarding the death of former Georgia senator and Georgia secretary of state Max Cleland, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 79, reports The Washington Post

"Max Cleland was an American hero whose fearless service to our nation, and to the people of his beloved home state of Georgia, never wavered," said Biden. "He was a man of unflinching patriotism, boundless courage, and rare character. I was proud to have Max by my side." The president and Cleland served six years in Senate together.

"He will be remembered as one of Georgia's and America's great leaders," Biden added. "Jill and I are deeply saddened to learn of his passing, and our prayers are with all those who loved him." Cleland's cause of death was congestive heart failure, according to his personal assistant.

An Army captain who lost three limbs in Vietnam, Cleland was "known primarily as an impassioned advocate for veterans and their families, launching counseling programs and championing services for post-traumatic stress disorder, which the VA began to recognize as a legitimate condition during his tenure," writes the Post.

He was also lauded as a "Democratic cause célèbre," after becoming the target of a 2002 Republican attack ad that questioned his commitment to homeland security alongside images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, writes The New York Times. The 30-second spot was condemned by many, including prominent Republicans like former Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

"What happened to him would have destroyed most men, said former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D) of Cleland. "But he persevered through it and prospered." Read more at The Washington Post.