SIOUX FALLS, SD (RNN) – Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern has died, according to a family statement.
He was 90.
On Monday, McGovern was moved into hospice care near his home in Sioux Fall, SD. His daughter, Ann McGovern, told the Associated Press he was "coming to the end of his life" and had suffered from several health issues of late.
McGovern was hospitalized in December 2011 after he fell and hit his head before a scheduled appearance on C-Span.
The war hero turned statesman spent his political career advocating for farmers and the battle against world hunger.
McGovern's career in national politics began when he was elected from South Dakota to the House of Representatives in 1957. He served as a Congressman for four years before running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1960.
McGovern worked for two years as the director for the Food for Peace Program under President John F. Kennedy. His second bid for the Senate was successful in 1962, and he was reelected two times.
In 1971 he became the chairman of the Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, which worked to increase minority participation and representation in the Democratic convention. McGovern became the party's nominee for president in 1972.
He was a leading opponent of the Vietnam War. However, the commission's changes caused division in the Democrat party, and President Richard Nixon won reelection with nearly 61 percent of the popular vote.
McGovern also ran for president in 1968 and 1984. From 1998 to 2001, he was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Agencies in Rome, Italy, and he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 2000.
In 2001, the United Nations named McGovern its first Global Ambassador on World Hunger. He also co-created the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Nutrition Program.
He was born July 19, 1922, in Avon, SD. He enlisted in the U.S. army in 1942, and flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in the European Theater of World War II.
McGovern received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. After his discharge in 1945, he earned his degree from Dakota Wesleyan University and then enrolled at Northwestern, where he got his Master's and PhD in American history and government.
He and his wife, Eleanor Stegeberg, were married from 1943 until her death in 2007. The couple had five children.
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