Former Vice President, Minnesota senator Walter Mondale dies at age of 93

His death was confirmed by family on Monday.
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Walter Mondale has died at the age of 93.

A former Vice President and U.S. Senator for Minnesota, his death from natural causes was confirmed by family on Monday evening.

"It is with profound sadness that we share news that our beloved dad passed away today in Minneapolis, Minnesota," a statement from his family said. "As proud as we were of him leading the presidential ticket for Democrats in 1984, we know that our father’s public policy legacy is so much more.”

He served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States under Jimmy Carter between 1977 and 1981, and ran as the Democratic nominee in the 1984 presidential election against Ronald Reagan, with Mondale only winning Minnesota and the District of Columbia in a famous Republican landslide.

Before that, he was a U.S. Senator for Minnesota between 1964 and 1976. He also ran against as a late replacement following the death of Paul Wellstone in 2002, but lost to then St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman.

He encouraged Al Franken to run against Coleman in 2008, which Franken won, and more recently endorsed Sen. Amy Klobuchar for president in 2019.

Affectionately known as "Fritz," Mondale has also acted as a mentor in the past to the now President Joe Biden.

He was born on Jan. 5, 1928, in Ceylon, Minnesota, with his family later moving to Elmore, Minnesota. 

The Star Tribune notes that as a senator, Mondale "played a lead role in the passage of social programs, civil rights laws and environmental protections that defined President Lyndon B. Johnson's 'Great Society.'"

In a letter to staff obtained by Axios, Mondale's final message stated that his "time has come" and that he was "eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor," referring to his wife who died in hospice care 2014, and daughter who died from brain cancer in 2011.

He gave an interview with Franken on his podcast less than two years ago, which you can listen to here.

Minnesota DFL chairman Ken Martin issued the following tribute:

“Today, Minnesota has lost our North Star. Former Vice President Walter Mondale was a moral, courageous, and principled leader whose tireless work to improve the lives of his fellow Americans and people across the globe has left an indelible mark on history. Fritz was also a friend and a mentor to myself and so many others, and I am deeply saddened by news of his passing. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his friends, family, and loved ones.

“What truly defines Walter Mondale’s life of public service is a relentless focus on standing up for what’s right and helping people in need. In the Senate, he engaged tirelessly in the long, difficult, and painstaking work of building meaningful and durable political change. A passionate civil rights advocate, Mondale was instrumental in negotiating and helping to pass the Fair Housing Act, Voting Rights Act, and key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In our nation’s 245 year struggle to build a more perfect union, few have contributed as much to that cause as Walter Mondale.

“More than anyone else, Mondale was responsible for defining the modern Vice Presidency by crafting a much larger role for the office than ever before, which he subsequently used to further the causes of peace and civil rights across the globe. It was Mondale’s hard work that opened the negotiations which ultimately led to the Camp David Accords and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, a peace treaty that endures to this day. On the world stage, Walter Mondale was also a champion for the cause of refugees fleeing violence in Vietnam and his passionate advocacy on their behalf saved countless lives.

“Though he is no longer with us, Walter Mondale’s legacy lives on in the historic change he made and the innumerable lives he saved and improved. Let us all recommit ourselves to following in Fritz’s footsteps and continuing his lifelong work of building a better Minnesota, a more just America, and a more peaceful world.”

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