Carl Levin, the former U.S. senator from Michigan who over a 36-year career became a dominant figure on the Armed Services Committee and a fierce champion of his state’s automobile industry, has died, his family said in a statement. He was 87.

A statement released late Thursday by Levin’s family and the Levin Center at the Wayne State University Law School did not list a cause of death.

First elected to the Senate in 1978, Levin was known for his somewhat rumpled appearance, glasses often perched on the tip of his nose, as well as for a phenomenal recollection of details and legislative minutiae, which he often deployed to the chagrin of Pentagon officials and corporate leaders who came before his committees. He retired from the Senate in 2015 as Michigan’s longest-serving senator.

Over those decades, Levin frequently collaborated and sometimes clashed with stalwarts of the Armed Services panel like John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia, though he was a Democrat and they were both Republicans. Warner died in May, McCain in 2018.

“We could not aspire to better service than what he has given our country,” McCain said on the Senate floor in praise of Levin shortly before his retirement.

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