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Long-serving Utah US Senator Orrin Hatch dies at age 88

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Longest-serving Republican senator in history Orrin G Hatch, who was a fixture in Utah politics for more than four decades, died on Saturday at age 88.

His death was announced in a statement from his foundation, which did not specify a cause.

A staunch conservative on most economic and social issues, he also teamed with Democrats several times during his long career on issues ranging from stem cell research to rights for people with disabilities to expanding children’s health insurance. He also formed friendships across the aisle, particularly with the late Democratic Senator Edward M Kennedy.

Hatch also championed GOP issues like abortion limits and helped shape the United States (US) Supreme Court, including defending Justice Clarence Thomas against sexual harassment allegations during confirmation hearings.

He later became an ally of Republican former president Donald Trump, using his role as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee to get a major rewrite of the US tax codes to the president’s desk.

United States Senator Orrin Hatch. PHOTO: AP