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George McGovern, former presidential nominee, placed in hospice

October 16, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Then-South Dakota Sen. George S. McGovern views Mt. Rushmore while vacationing in the Black Hills in 1972.
Then-South Dakota Sen. George S. McGovern views Mt. Rushmore while vacationing… (Associated Press )

WASHINGTON -- George McGovern, former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, has been placed in hospice care in Sioux Falls, S.D.

After several recent hospitalizations -- including admittances in 2011 for fatigue and an injury after striking his head in a fall, and most recently for testing in Florida in connection with frequent exhaustion and speech difficulties -- his family has decided to move him to the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, said Lindsey Meyers, spokeswoman for Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center.

"The family of Sen. McGovern wishes to extend their gratitude and appreciation for the many prayers and well wishes and requests complete privacy at this time," Meyers said in a statement.

Daughter Ann McGovern told the Associated Press that her father is "coming to the end of his life."

Now 90, McGovern was a prominent liberal figure within the Democratic Party for decades, representing South Dakota in the House from 1957 to 1961, and the Senate from 1963 to 1981. A World War II combat veteran, he was an outspoken critic of U.S involvement in Vietnam, but he was arguably most famous for his failed bid to win the White House against President Nixon in 1972, which ended in a 61%-37% defeat.

Following his career in politics, McGovern focused his attention on world hunger, serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture for three years, and creating the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Nutrition Program.

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