Former senator and presidential candidate George McGovern died Sunday morning at age 90. (Getty Images)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (TheBlaze/AP) -- A family spokesman says former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, the Democrat who lost to President Richard Nixon in 1972 in a historic landslide, has died at the age of 90.
The spokesman, Steve Hildebrand, told The Associated Press by telephone that McGovern died at 5:15 a.m. Sunday at a hospice in Sioux Falls, surrounded by family and friends.
McGovern was a bomber pilot in World War II who became an early critic of the Vietnam War and a leader of the Democrats' liberal wing.
He was elected to his first of three Senate terms in 1962.
McGovern ran for president three times, also making a try for the nomination in 1968 and 1984.
Despite the 1972 Watergate break-in, Nixon won a second term in one of the biggest landslides in modern history.
"George McGovern dedicated his life to serving the country he loved," President Barack Obama said in a statement Sunday morning. "George was a statesman of great conscience and conviction, and Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family."
Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement he and wife Jill were "profoundly saddened" to hear of McGovern's death, someone he served with and considered a friend.
"George believed deeply in public service. It defined him as a Senator and as a man. And he never stopped serving for his entire life – whether it was his courage in World War II, his time in Congress, or his fight to eliminate hunger at home and abroad," Biden said.
This post has been updated.