(NBC) - Senator Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, died today at age 92.
Byrd was the last surviving Senator to serve in the 1950s and cast more votes than anyone else, more than 18,000 over the course of his career in Washington.
Senator Byrd was legendary for speaking his mind and beloved by his impoverished home state of West Virginia for bringing home billions in tax dollars.
Byrd was elected to the Senate in 1958 after serving three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He said he discovered his leadership skills in an unexpected place: As a young member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Byrd said he changed and spent the rest of his career repenting for that racist past.
He threw his sizable support behind Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary fight.
Byrd was elected to an unprecedented ninth term in 2006.
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