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OAN’s James Meyers
10:09 AM – Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Former Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe died Tuesday at the age of 89, his family announced. 

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Inhofe died shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, with his wife, Kay, and three children, Molly, Jimmy and Katy, by his side. 

Inhofe’s family said he contracted a sudden illness over the Fourth of July holiday, but did not provide details. 

The former Senator’s death comes almost two years after he retired from the upper chamber in 2023, having served for more than 20 years in Congress. He was Oklahoma’s longest-serving U.S. senator. 

Before his time in the Senate, Inhofe served in the House and as the mayor of Tulsa for six years. 

Representative Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) paid tribute to Inhofe in a statement on Tuesday, calling him a “dear friend and mentor, a titan in Oklahoma and a higher effective leader in D.C.”

“He will always be remembered as a fighter, especially for our military service members,” Hern wrote. “Jim’s legacy of service, leadership, and faith reflect the Oklahoma Standard and the pride he held in his work.”

“Along with the family, friends, and many Oklahomans who knew and loved him, I mourn the loss of a great man,” he added.

Additionally, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was saddened to learn of Inhofe’s death. 

“For nearly three decades, the Senator for Oklahoma lived up to his unique and distinguished middle name: Jim was a Mountain of a man,” McConnell wrote in a statement. “The people he served, a group much larger than the proud residents of the Sooner State, were better for it.”

“Jim’s diligent stewardship of massive infrastructure projects transformed life across the Heartland. His relentless advocacy for American energy dominance unlocked new prosperity across the country,” he added. “And his laser focus on growing and modernizing the U.S. military strengthened the security of the entire free world.”

The Oklahoma GOP shared their condolences to Inhofe’s family and OKGOP Chair Nathan Dahm said the state “lost a giant.” 

“He served the people of this State from the local level and rose to leadership at the national level where he represented us so well in Washington D.C. He was a staunch defender of our military, even before he served as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee,” Dahm wrote.

Inhofe is survived by his wife, three surviving children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

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