George S. McGovern, a proud liberal who argued fervently against the Vietnam War as a senator from South Dakota and suffered one of the most crushing defeats in presidential election history against Richard Nixon in 1972, died before dawn Sunday. He was 90.

A spokesman for McGovern’s family, Steve Hildebrand, told The Associated Press by telephone that McGovern died at 5:15 a.m. Sunday at a hospice in Sioux Falls, surrounded by family and lifelong friends.

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer,” a family statement released by Hildebrand said.

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