The politican, who was the longest-serving Republican senator, was 86

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 10, 2010 03:00 PM
Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

Former U.S. Senator from Alaska Ted Stevens has died after the plane on which he and eight others were aboard crashed in southern Alaska on Monday night. Five others in the aircraft were also believed killed, according to authorities.

“The family has been notified that Senator Stevens did not survive the crash,” family spokesman Mitch Rose said in a statement Tuesday.

The flight apparently was hampered by rainy and foggy weather in an area of mountains and lakes north of Bristol Bay, according to news reports.

Stevens, 86, was the longest-serving Republican senator until he lost his bid for a seventh term in 2008 after he was found guilty of corruption. The case, however, was later dismissed on account of prosecutorial misconduct.

Affectionately referred to as “Uncle Ted” by his constituents, the influential politico was equally known for his volatile temperament. His corruption trial was primarily sparked by his championing of the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $400-million pork transportation project designed to connect two remote Alaskan islands.

Having once predicted he expected to perish in a plane crash, Stevens was the survivor of a Dec. 4, 1978, Lear Jet crash landing that claimed the lives of seven others on board, including the senator’s first wife, Ann. The tragedy occurred at Anchorage International Airport, which in 2000 was renamed Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Remarrying in 1980, the senator is survived by his second wife, Catherine, and their daughter, Lily. Three sons – Ben, Walter and Ted – and two daughters – Susan and Beth – survive from his first marriage, CBS reports.