Former U.S. Senator and Oklahoma legend Tom Coburn dies

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma legend admired by both his peers and successors, has died.

Coburn died at his home at age 72.

“We lost a giant today – an Oklahoma legend. Dr. Coburn devoted his life to serving others both by way of his career as a physician and by tirelessly fighting for our country as a true statesman,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “Our state and our nation are better because of the lessons in fiscal responsibility we’ve learned from Dr. Coburn and I pray especially in these trying times ahead of us that we can find ways to ensure his legacy lives on.”

U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) lauded Coburn’s leadership and dedication to conservative principles.

“Oklahoma has lost a tremendous leader, and I lost a great friend today. Dr. Coburn was an inspiration to many in our state and our nation. He was unwavering in his conservative values, but he had deep and meaningful friendships with people from all political and personal backgrounds. He was truly respected by people on both sides of the aisle.

Dr. Coburn will be remembered by many around the country for his work in Congress, but in Oklahoma, he will be remembered as a physician, a Sunday School teacher, and a mentor. He delivered over 4,000 babies and cared for thousands of moms in Muskogee. His greatest joy was his wife Carolyn and his daughters Callie, Katie, and Sarah and their families. Cindy and I pray for the Coburn family as they walk through this incredibly hard journey. They have lost a husband, father, and grandfather; we have lost a friend and a leader.”

U.S. Senator James Lankford

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) paid tribute to Coburn’s effectiveness as a conservative legislator:

“I am so sad that we have lost our friend and former colleague Senator Tom Coburn.

The Senate knew Dr. Coburn as a whip-smart legislator with rock-solid principles. He was an unbelievably effective ambassador for his conservative Oklahoma values. He was central to igniting new national conversations about the proper role of federal policy and the shape of the conservative movement.

But his famous nickname “Dr. No” did not fully capture Tom, because did not let his strong principles sideline him from creative policymaking or bipartisan cooperation. Tom’s convictions did not drive him away from the table. They inspired him to become a central player. It took him less than two terms to become a master of the oversight process and a crucial partner in major legislation.

As impressive as it was to see Tom work in the Senate, politics never defined him. Elected office was just one phase of a driven life that had already included growing a family business and delivering thousands of babies as a legendary hometown obstetrician. His deep faith and his endless capacity to the see the good in others made him a beloved friend to so many, including to Elaine and me.

Seventy-two years was far too few for someone this brilliant, this tireless, and this dedicated to serving others. The Senate mourns our friend. We stand in prayer with his beloved wife Carolyn, their daughters Sarah, Katie, and Callie, and the entire Coburn family.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat remembered Coburn’s excellence as a public servant.

Treat released the following statement:

“One of the greatest honors of my life was to have known and worked for Dr. Tom Coburn. He was a mentor to me and lived out a great example of how to serve with conviction, honor and compassion. Whether it was fighting for the unborn or the next generation of Americans, he was unshakeable in his convictions, regardless of the extreme political or public pressures, and was successful in pulling America back to its core values and principles.

He was a man of God devoted to his family and friends, and not afraid to let anyone know that. I’m saddened by his passing, and my heart is with his family and all those who had the great fortune to have worked for him over the years. Besides family, no one has had a more profound impact on my life than Tom Coburn. His impact on our nation was real and his legacy lives on through all of those who were blessed to know and learn from him.”

Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) honored both Coburn’s faith and service:

“Tom Coburn was a special, special man. He was a Christian and a father and a husband, and all of those identities were much more important to him than where he got his paycheck. And even among his day jobs, everyone who knew him knew that politics was, at best, second for ‘Doctor Coburn’ — a guy from Oklahoma who helped women deliver babies. He will be sorely missed in lots of different communities, but he is home.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter praised Coburn’s dedication to championing conservative legislation:

“Former Sen. Tom Coburn was an accomplished man, husband, father, doctor, leader and politician. He served our state in both chambers of Congress with dignity and distinction.

I was privileged to know Tom as a friend and colleague. He was a man of principle and dauntless in his pursuit of conservative policy objectives. I often thought of him as the embodiment of Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena comment in his Citizenship in a Republic speech, which surmised that the credit belongs to the man who dares greatly.

Despite the partisan divide in Washington, Tom managed to earn respect on both sides of the political aisle. He spent his legislative career as an ardent supporter of pro-life policies, second amendment rights, healthcare reform and fighting against wasteful government spending.

My wife Cheryl and I send our deepest condolences to the Coburn family during their time of mourning.

Well done good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:23.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter

Coburn, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, was also memorialized by OSU President Burns Hargis:

“We join many across our state and nation in mourning the loss of former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. For us at Oklahoma State University, we have lost a true Cowboy — one of our own. We were deeply honored and proud to call him a graduate. He was a person of principle and character. His public servant life reflected his uncompromising belief in American freedom and independence. The Cowboy family is grateful for Tom’s service to our country, state and university. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

OSU President Burns Hargis

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