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Fred Thompson, former U.S. senator and actor, dead at 73

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Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator for Tennessee and actor, has died. He was 73.

Thompson died in Nashville, Tennessee, after a recurrence of lymphoma, his family said in a statement Sunday.

“Fred believed that the greatness of our nation was defined by the hard work, faith and honesty of its people. He had an enduring belief in the exceptionalism of our country, and that America could provide the opportunity for any boy or girl, in any corner of our country, to succeed in life,” the statement read.

“Our nation has lost a servant, Tennessee has lost a son, and our family has lost its rock.”

Thompson won a special election in 1994 to fill Al Gore’s vacate U.S. Senate seat. He was re-elected for a full term two years later and announced in 2002 that he would not run again.

He campaigned briefly for president in the 2008 election.

Condolences poured in Sunday from friends, including Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

As an actor, Thompson appeared in the films “The Hunt for Red October,” “Die Hard 2” and “In the Line of Fire,” among others. He performed on the small screen on the TV show “Law & Order.”

“Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate,” his family said.

“He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home.”

By Dana Ford, CNN