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Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) died at 82 Tuesday "following a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer," his wife, Landra Reid, announced.

The big picture: The influential politician was Senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015, and served in Congress for more than three decades. Both President Biden and former President Obama said Reid was a "great" Senate leader.

  • In his years of service, Reid played key roles in passing the Affordable Care Act, advocating land conservation and reforming financial regulation after the Great Recession.
  • As majority leader, he also led the Senate in eliminating the 60-vote majority needed to vote on most presidential nominees, according to BuzzFeed.

What they're saying: Landra Reid said in a statement released to media that her husband of 62 years died "peacefully," surrounded by family.

  • "Harry was a devout family man and deeply loyal friend," she said.
  • "We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from so many over these past few years. We are especially grateful for the doctors and nurses that cared for him. Please know that meant the world to him."

Between the lines: Though he wasn't without controversy, the Democrat and stalwart Obama ally "helped Nevada punch above its weight on the national political stage," the Nevada Independent writes.

Background: Reid was born in an impoverished Nevada town in 1939 and grew up with little means.

  • He became an amateur boxer in high school and graduated from Utah State University before pursuing a law degree at George Washington University.
  • Reid worked as a Capitol police officer at night to help pay the bills, per the Independent.
  • After law school, he worked as a city attorney before turning to state politics and successfully running for office in the Nevada Assembly, which positioned him to later campaign for a seat in Congress.
  • In 2018, he underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. He was declared cancer-free last summer.

For the record: When asked last year whether Democrats will eliminate the filibuster, Reid told CNN that it's "not a question of if it's going to be gone, it's only when it's going to be gone."

What's next: "Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days," Landra Reid said.

Go deeper: Political heavyweights remember "one of a kind" Harry Reid

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2022 - Health

Cancer death rate falls 32% since peak in 1991

A cancer patient receives IV chemotherapy treatment. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The cancer death rate fell by 32% between 1991 and 2019, according to an American Cancer Society report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The latest figures show the overall risk of dying from cancer continues to drop at an accelerating rate.

Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Schumer finds loophole to advance elections reform package

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic leaders have found a mechanism to enable them to bypass an initial Republican filibuster and debate the party's sweeping election reform bills, according to a new leadership memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The strategy is the latest example of how Democrats are seeking new ways to try to bypass Senate procedures that are blocking their agenda. But the ultimate outcome will likely be the same: insufficient support to change the 60-vote threshold needed to pass sweeping voting rights reforms.

McConnell: Biden's voting rights speech "profoundly unpresidential"

President Biden (left) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photos: Anna Moneymaker (left) and Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor Wednesday slammed President Biden's voting rights speech, calling it "divisive" and "profoundly unpresidential."

Why it matters: In his Tuesday remarks in Atlanta, Biden backed changing the filibuster to ensure voting rights are protected, and blasted Senate Republicans for blocking action on the issue.