The Ultimate Insider: Sen. Robert C. Byrd Dies

The nation's longest-serving member of Congress and former Klansman dies at 92.


Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), the nation's longest-serving member of Congress, has died. Byrd was admitted to the hospital last week for dehydration and never recovered. He spent 50 years in the Senate, outliving nine U.S. presidents as his Democratic Party slipped in and out of the majority over the past five decades. Known as the ultimate insider, he authored a four-volume history of the upper Senate and held virtually every leadership position in the Senate. He was an orphan who came from humble beginnings in the West Virginia coal mines and married a coal miner's daughter. They were married for 68 years until her death in 2006. A former member of the Klu Klux Klan, Sen. Byrd famously used his position as head of the Appropriations Committee to funnel much-needed money to his home state for many years. He was 92.