Hagel Hails Lautenberg as Friend, Respected Colleague
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 3, 2013 Shortly after arriving in Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the death today of New Jersey U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Lautenberg, 89, was the last World War II veteran to serve in the Senate.
“Frank was a good friend and respected colleague,” Hagel said. “He was a strong advocate for the men and women of our armed forces and their military families, and America's veterans. He was a member of America's ‘greatest generation.’
Lautenberg’s “passion and his leadership will be missed,” the secretary added.
“Lilibet’s and my thoughts and prayers, as well as all of us at the Department of Defense, are with Bonnie and his family,” Hagel said.
Lautenberg died of viral pneumonia, according to a statement released by his office.
He had served in the Senate from 1982 until 2001, and then decided to retire. Lautenberg later decided to end his retirement, and he was re-elected to the Senate, serving from 2003 until his death.