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Harry Reid, Nevada's longest-serving senator, dead at 82 after battling pancreatic cancer

Obit Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Reid, wife cast early vote near Las Vegas Strip
Obit Harry Reid
Obit Harry Reid
Obit Harry Reid
Harry Reid
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2022-01-05 21:24:49-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Harry Reid, the longest-serving senator in Nevada's history, died Tuesday at the age of 82.

His wife, Landra, released the following statement announcing her husband's passing:

“I am heartbroken to announce the passing of my husband, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He died peacefully this afternoon, surrounded by our family, following a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Harry was 82 years old. We were married for 62 years.

“We are so proud of the legacy he leaves behind both on the national stage and his beloved Nevada. Harry was deeply touched to see his decades of service to Nevada honored in recent weeks with the re-naming of Las Vegas’ airport in his honor.

“Harry was a devout family man and deeply loyal friend.

“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.”

“Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.”

One of the most influential figures in Nevada's political history, Reid represented the Silver State as a Democrat for 30 years before his retirement in 2016 and was Senate Majority leader from 2007 to 2015.

TIMELINE: The milestones that brought Harry Reid from Searchlight to the Senate

His legacy includes decades of political impact and recognition. Most recently, the Las Vegas airport was renamed Harry Reid International Airport in his honor.

"To say Harry Reid was a giant doesn't fully encapsulate all that he accomplished on behalf of the state of Nevada and for Nevada families; there will never be another leader quite like Senator Reid," Gov. Steve Sisolak stated in response to news of the former senator's death.


Obit Harry Reid
FILE - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nev., discusses the results of Tuesday's election during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006. Reid, the former Senate majority leader and Nevada’s longest-serving member of Congress, has died. He was 82. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)

Born in Searchlight in 1939, Reid began his political career at the age of 28 when he was elected to the state assembly. He went on the become the youngest lieutenant governor in state history in 1971 at age 30. He chaired the Nevada Gaming Commission and served a term in Congress before his Senate career began in 1986.

He was named Senate Majority leader in 2006 and would lead Senate Democrats until his retirement in 2016.

Prior to his career in politics, Reid was an amateur lightweight boxer and was eventually inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2018. Observers of Reid's political tactics often drew comparisons between Reid the boxer and Reid the politician: he "used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor and the middle class," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.

Sisolak said Reid "never forgot who he was or where he came from" and "spent his life and his career fighting the good fight for all Nevadans."

Harry Reid's legacy: A staunch opponent of Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site