Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), the longest serving member of Congress, has died at the age of 92. He had suffered numerous age-related health problems over the last two years.
Byrd served West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1953 to 1959 before moving to the Senate for an astounding nine terms. During his half-century in the Senate, Byrd has served in various leadership positions including President Pro Tempore, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Majority Whip, and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
His legacy, however, has been tarnished by his racist positions earlier in life. In his twenties, Byrd was a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan and he famously filibustered the Civil Rights Act. He has since repudiated and apologized for these positions, and in later years became a reliable supporter of minority civil rights issues.
Under West Virginia law, Byrd will be replaced by a gubernatorial appointment.