Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern – whose unsuccessful 1972 campaign against Richard Nixon is remembered for having helped spark the Watergate office break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters that was eventually traced back to the Nixon White House – died early Sunday morning, said a family spokesman. He was 90.
McGovern was hospitalized last Dec. 2 in Sioux City, S.D., after he fell and injured his head on the sidewalk outside the Dakota Wesleyan University's McGovern Library. Though he was later released, he had been in failing health throughout 2012, and on Oct. 8 he entered hospice care in Sioux Falls "with a combination of medical conditions, due to age, that have worsened over recent months," said a statement from his family.
A lifelong resident of Mitchell, S.D., McGovern, who earned a Distinguished Flying Cross during World War II, was elected to his first of three terms in the Senate in 1962. At the time he received the Democratic nomination for President, Nixon had already been in the White House for four years and the Vietnam War was literally dividing the nation in two.