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Johnny Isakson, Longtime Republican Georgia Senator, Passes Away At 76

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Johnny Isakson, who served as a Republican senator from Georgia from 2005 to 2019, has passed away at the age of 76.

He previously served in the U.S. House from 1999 to 2005.

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“It is with deep sorrow that The Isakson Initiative shares that former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson passed away overnight on December 19, 2021, at age 76. Sen. Isakson’s family is grateful for the prayers and support. Funeral arrangements will be shared when finalized,” Isakson’s family wrote on his official Twitter account.

John, the former senator’s son, told the Associated Press that his father passed away in his sleep before dawn Sunday morning at his home in Atlanta. He said his father suffered from Parkinson’s disease, but a cause of death was not readily apparent.

“He was a great man and I will miss him,” Isakson said of his father.

“Georgia has lost a giant, one of its greatest statesmen, and a servant leader dedicated to making his state and country better than he found it,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said in a statement. “Johnny Isakson personified what it means to be Georgian.”

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“Johnny was one of my best friends in the Senate,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote. “But the amazing thing about him was that at any given time, approximately 98 other Senators felt the same way. His infectious warmth and charisma, his generosity, and his integrity made Johnny one of the most admired and beloved people in the Capitol.”

Joe Biden mourned the death of Isakson, calling him “a patriot and a gentleman,” in a statement Sunday.

“Johnny was a proud Republican, but he put country before party, and valued building consensus over political combat. I always loved Johnny’s description of the only division he saw as between ‘friends and future friends,'” Biden wrote. “In Johnny’s memory, let us heed the wisdom he offered upon retiring from the Senate, where he urged everyone to devote less energy to describing problems and more effort to working together to provide answers.”

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted: “Saddened to hear of the passing of former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. Sen. Isakson was a true public servant, a patriot, and a devoted family man. Heidi and I send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to the Isakson family.”

Isakson resigned from office in 2019 citing health concerns. He had surgery to remove a growth on his kidney at the time of his announcement and was recovering from a fall that fractured four ribs, all while his Parkinson’s disease continued to progress.

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“I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff,” Isakson said at the time. “With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve. It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term, but I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state.”

“Not only is Johnny a diligent and successful legislator, but he is also one of the kindest, most thoughtful senators,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after Isakson announced his resignation. “Independent of any party or politics, everyone will miss Johnny.”

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