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Orrin Hatch, longest-serving GOP senator in U.S. history, dead at 88

Former Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who served in the U.S. Senate from 1977 to 2019, died Saturday at the age of 88, The New York Times reports.

Hatch was the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, with a tenure of exactly 42 years. He is the sixth-longest-serving overall, behind Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.); Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii); Strom Thurmond (S.C.), who was a Democrat for the first 10 years of his 47-year tenure; Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Hatch, a lifelong Mormon, was born in 1934 near Pittsburgh and attended Brigham Young University. According to The Wall Street Journal, he "was married to his wife, Elaine, for more than 60 years. They had six children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren." He was also a prolific songwriter who contributed to the soundtracks of several Hollywood films.

During his seven terms, Hatch helped pass the Americans With Disabilities Act, co-wrote the Children's Health Insurance Program, and played a key role in passing former President Donald Trump's tax cuts. He also briefly ran for president in 2000. Trump awarded Hatch the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018. The following year, Hatch retired from the Senate and was replaced by Sen. Mitt Romney (R).