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Orrin Hatch, longest-serving Republican U.S. senator, dies at 88

Former Utah Senator Orrin G. Hatch passed away on April 23, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by family. He was 88 years old.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Orrin G. Hatch, the longtime Republican senator from Utah, died Saturday in Salt Lake City at the age of 88, the Hatch Foundation announced.

Hatch, who retired in 2019 at the end of his last term, served in the Senate for 42 years, making him the longest-serving Republican U.S. senator.

“Senator Orrin G. Hatch personified the American Dream,” Matt Sandgren, executive director of the Hatch Foundation, said in a statement. “Born the son of a carpenter and plaster lather, he overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States Senator.”

Hatch was also the longest-serving U.S. senator in Utah history. He was first elected in 1976 and announced his retirement in January 2018.

He referred to his past as an amateur boxer in making the announcement, saying in a video: “Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me that time is soon approaching.”

Hatch was born in Homestead Park, Pennsylvania, in 1934.

Raised in what he’s called “a ramshackle house” during the Great Depression, Hatch went on to serve as chairman of three different Senate committees and put his stamp on major pieces of legislation across the policy spectrum.

Hatch graduated from Brigham Young University in 1959 with a bachelor’s in history, and in 1969 moved to Utah.

He is survived by his wife, Elaine, and their six children. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date, the Hatch Foundation said.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted that “Utah mourns with the Hatch family.”

“This breaks my heart. Abby and I are so grateful for the opportunities we had to spend time with this incredible public servant. He was always so kind and generous with his time and wisdom,” Cox, a Republican, wrote.

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