Former Senator Arlen Specter, a major political figure in Pennsylvania and Washington for more than four decades, died on Sunday of complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 82, his son said.
Specter had announced in August that he was once again fighting cancer. His son Shanin Specter confirmed his death.
A political moderate, Specter was a five-term senator from Pennsylvania, serving as a Republican until he switched parties and became a Democrat in 2009. He said at the time the Republican Party had moved too far to the right.
Resilient, smart and aggressive, the former prosecutor frequently riled conservatives and liberals on his way to becoming Pennsylvania's longest-serving U.S. senator. He was elected to five six-year terms starting in 1980.