Tuesday dawned as a sad day in Minnesota -- and for the KMSP family -- after news that former U.S. Senator and one-time news anchor Rod Grams died of colon cancer on Monday night at his home in Crown, Minn.
Grams, 65, passed at about 11:45 p.m. with his wife, Chris, by his side. He leaves behind four children and several grandchildren, along with countless friends and former co-workers from across the country.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the family said Grams' legacy will live on:
"I think Minnesotans can be proud that he was our senator. He was this ordinary guy, it seemed, who just happened to become a senator. He had this passion for doing the work for people, and he would say his signature achievement was the $500 per child tax credit, which was part of the contract with America many lawmakers would want to attach their name to -- but many don't even know it was his idea."
Grams went into hospice care in early September after his colon cancer metastasized into an aggressive form of liver cancer, and the chemotherapy simply stopped working.
After leading the anchor desk at FOX 9 for more than a decade and keeping his politics private, Grams was elected to serve one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then, he served a single term in the Senate between 1995 and 2001, losing his re-election bid to now-Gov. Mark Dayton.
Grams was diagnosed with colon cancer in April 2012, but up until recently, he was still involved with his radio stations in Little Falls.
Funeral arrangements were finalized on Tuesday. Visitation will be held on Monday, Oct. 14 between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, located at 7515 269th Ave. NW in St. Francis, Minn. The funeral will be held at the church the following Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Memorials to honor the legacy of U.S. Sen. Rod Grams may be sent to Crown Christian School, 7515 269th Ave NW, St Francis MN 55070.
Several lawmakers have also issued statements on Grams' passing. They can be read in full below.
GOV. MARK DAYTON
"Minnesota mourns the passing of former United States Congressman and Senator Rod Grams. Senator Grams served our state with great distinction, as a member of both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.
"After his return to Minnesota, he continued to be active and influential in civic and political affairs, right up to the end of his life. On behalf of our state's grateful citizens, I extend my deepest sympathies to the Senator's family and friends."
SEN. AL FRANKEN
"Franni and I were saddened to hear Minnesota lost Rod Grams, a dedicated public servant. Sen. Grams was one of the many who represented our great state on the Senate floor with dignity and pride. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones."
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR
"Rod Grams devoted his life to the people of Minnesota. From his time as a broadcaster to his service in the Senate, Rod remained humble and committed to serving his community and state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones, and I know he will be missed."
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