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Rest in peace

Former GOP Sen. Tom Coburn dies at 72

March 28, 2020
Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) died Saturday at his home in Tulsa after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 72.

Coburn had battled health issues for many years, and his bout with cancer led him to retire from the Senate in 2015, two years before his second term was up.

An obstetrician by training, Coburn — who served in the House before winning a seat in the upper chamber — was known for his fierce commitment to conservatism, both fiscally and socially. He was opposed to the expansion of the federal government, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage, and did not believe in global warming science.

Still, the senator also was hailed for bipartisanship — he teamed up with former Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to issue a report on the 2008 financial crisis which accused Goldman Sachs and other powerful institutions of deception and greed. The Washington Post notes he gained the respect of many Democrats for his role in inquiries into corruption, tax avoidance, and fraudulent social security claims.

Levin said Coburn was a "terrific oversight partner in the Senate" thanks to the fact that he was "more interested in facts than politics." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell