BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes has died, his son, current Rep. John Sarbanes, said in a statement Sunday night. He was 87 years old.
In the statement, John Sarbanes said "our family is grateful to know that we have the support of Marylanders who meant so much to him and whom he was honored to serve.
The former senator grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore to Greek immigrant parents. Sarbanes served 30 years in the Senate and six years in the House of Representatives.
After being elected to the House of Representatives in 1970, Sarbanes drafted the first article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. He then served an unprecedented eight terms in the Senate, where he was a champion for the Chesapeake Bay.
The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act reshaped corporate oversight after accounting scandals at Enron, Worldcom and other major corporations.
Sarbanes spoke to WJZ's Vic Carter about retiring from the Senate.
"I'm going to miss not being directly involved in these public policy issues that I've lived with now for 40 years and which obviously I'm interested in," he said, "and give you a chance to help shape the nation's direction."
Gov. Larry Hogan recalled Sarbanes as a "sincere and passionate advocate for our state."
Hogan ordered the state flag to fly at half-staff on the day of Sarbanes' burial.
Baltimore Mayor-Elect Brandon Scott said Sarbanes "embodied public service" and was "deeply loved and respected" by Baltimoreans and Marylanders.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger remembered Sen. Sarbanes as a mentor as Baltimore County Executive and extended prayers to Rep. Sarbanes and his family.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski called Sarbanes' death an incredible loss for all Marylanders.
"Senator Sarbanes was someone who... was the best at what politics represent," Olszewski said. "He had an incredible moral compass and served for all the right reasons. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with the Sarbanes family."
The Sarbanes family is planning a private service in the coming days.
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