Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland Dies at Age 79

Max Cleland, a former United States senator from Georgia and a Vietnam War veteran, died on Nov. 9 at the age of 79.

Cleland died at his home in Atlanta from heart failure, a close friend and caregiver told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Cleland was elected to the Senate in 1996, but he only served one term after his 2002 defeat to Republican Representative Saxby Chambliss, who questioned Cleland’s commitment against terrorism and homeland security.

Before he served in the Senate, Cleland served in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1968, during which he attained the rank of captain and lost both his legs and an arm after a fellow soldier accidentally dropped a grenade.

Cleland also served as the administrator for the Veterans Administration and as Georgia’s Secretary of State.

President Joe Biden described Cleland as “an American hero whose fearless service to our nation, and to the people of his beloved home state of Georgia, never wavered.”

“He was a man of unflinching patriotism, boundless courage, and rare character. I was proud to have Max by my side. He will be remembered as one of Georgia’s and America’s great leaders,” Biden said in a statement.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms described Cleland as “a kind, selfless, courageous man.”

“He would reach out to me, during some of my most challenging times, to offer words of encouragement. I am grateful for his service and friendship,” Bottoms said.

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