Former Republican senator John Warner, who married Elizabeth Taylor, dies at 94
Former U.S. Senator John Warner of Virginia, who at times clashed with fellow Republicans during his three decades in office, has died of heart failure. He was 94.
Warner died late on Tuesday, with his wife and daughter at his side, his chief of staff Susan Magill said in an email to family and friends, according to a Politico report on Wednesday. The Washington Post said he died in Alexandria, Virginia.
Warner was an influential voice in Congress on military policy and served in the U.S. Senate for five terms from 1979 to 2009.
A former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Warner openly criticized President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq War and called on him in 2007 to begin withdrawing American troops from Iraq.
The decision put Warner in the center of a growing debate in Congress over the conflict. Warner spent months trying to develop an approach to U.S. policy in Iraq that was supported by Republicans and Democrats.
During his time in office, Warner clashed with fellow Republican senators on domestic issues, voting in some cases for government funding of abortions and supporting some gun control measures. In 1994, he refused to support the conservative Republican candidate for Senate, Oliver North.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said he often turned for advice to Warner, whom he called a "public servant who stood on principle, made us proud, and exemplified the best of what politics can be."
"He was a Gentleman who maintained civility in his politics in an era of rising intolerance," fellow Virginian U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, said on Twitter.
Warner, who enlisted in the Navy during World War II at the age of 17, also served in the Marine Corps in Korea. He was secretary of the Navy from 1972-74 in President Richard Nixon’s administration.
He was the sixth husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor.