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Former Congressman Todd Akin dies at 74

Former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin died Sunday evening at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer. 

Akin, a Republican, represented Missouri’s 2nd congressional district from 2001-2013 after a decade in the Missouri House of Representatives. A staunch pro-life advocate, he also served on the Missouri Right to Life board.

“He was a devout Christian, a great father, and a friend to many,” Akin’s son Perry said in a statement to the Associated Press. “We cherish many fond memories from him driving the tractor at our annual hayride, to his riveting delivery of the freedom story at 4th of July parties dressed in the full uniform of a colonial minuteman. The family is thankful for his legacy: a man with a servant’s heart who stood for truth.”

Akin challenged then-U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill for her seat in 2012 but lost by 15 points. Many have attributed the loss to controversial comments about abortion and “legitimate rape” during his campaign. 

“He was a nice man, and although we had major disagreements about just about everything, he was authentic to his beliefs. He actually believed in everything he said, which is a tribute to his character,” McCaskill said on social media. “My thoughts are with his lovely family.”

“I’m very saddened to hear of the passing of Todd Akin,” Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer said. “Todd was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and public servant, serving the Show-Me State for decades at both the state and federal level. My prayers are with the Akin family as we mourn the loss of this son of Missouri.”

“Todd Akin was a passionate pro-life advocate even before he ever held public office,” Campaign Life Missouri Director Samuel Lee said. “It was a privilege working with him to protect the unborn and help pregnant moms.”

Born in New York, Akin was raised in the St. Louis area. Before his political career, he served in the U.S. Army, sold computer systems for IBM, and managed his family’s steel business.