Former U.S. Senator Carl Levin has died at age 87 after a battle with lung cancer.

He died at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan surrounded by loved ones, his family and the Levin Center confirmed late Thursday.

The Democratic leader represented Michigan for 28 years, making him the longest-serving senator ever from the state.


He advocated for the auto industry, strenuously opposed the Iraq War and investigated U.S. detainee abuse while fighting corporate fraud. 

Levin was elected to six consecutive six-year terms starting in 1978, when he defeated a senior incumbent Republican.

He served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and led a separate investigations panel from which he grilled business executives engaged in misconduct, including the Enron scandal, then the largest case of U.S. corporate fraud on record.

In 2002, Levin tried to head off the Iraq war. He voted against authorizing the use of force and unsuccessfully offered an alternative calling on President George W. Bush to pursue a tougher U.N. weapons inspection program in Iraq.

Former U.S. Senator Carl Levin has died at age 87 after a battle with lung cancer

Former U.S. Senator Carl Levin has died at age 87 after a battle with lung cancer

His death was confirmed Thursday evening on social media

His death was confirmed Thursday evening on social media


He also accused Pentagon official Douglas Feith of exaggerating the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, the Islamist network responsible for the 2001 attacks on the United States, in the build-up to the Iraq war.

Levin was a defender of Michigan's auto industry. During the financial crisis of 2008, he tried to marshal federal aid for automakers and resisted efforts by fellow Democrats on vehicle fuel-efficiency standards.

'I consider myself pro-business,' he said. 'I'm a pro-growth guy. When businesses participate in deceptive practices, we've got to change that. It's important to have cops on the beat.'

He also monitored the conduct of businesses and federal agencies and worked for laws to protect whistleblowers and ensure competition in government contracting.


In 2002, he called a hearing with members of the board of Enron, the once high-flying Texas energy company that collapsed. Investors lost billions of dollars and thousands of employees lost their jobs.

'You're the board. You're the captain of the ship that went down, and you're denying any responsibility,' Levin told them. 'There were plenty of things you were told and that you knew which should have triggered much stronger action on your part.'

In 2003, he held hearings showing how large accounting firms had created illegal tax shelters. Congress passed laws following the Enron and accounting scandals aimed at halting such abuses.

Levin (pictured) was elected to six consecutive six-year terms starting in 1978, when he defeated a senior incumbent Republican. He represented Michigan for 28 years, making him the longest-serving senator ever from the state

Levin (pictured) was elected to six consecutive six-year terms starting in 1978, when he defeated a senior incumbent Republican. He represented Michigan for 28 years, making him the longest-serving senator ever from the state

Levin (pictured) advocated for the auto industry, strenuously opposed the Iraq War and investigated U.S. detainee abuse while fighting corporate fraud

Levin (pictured) advocated for the auto industry, strenuously opposed the Iraq War and investigated U.S. detainee abuse while fighting corporate fraud

Levin held hearings in 2007 on abusive credit card industry practices, helping lead to new consumer protections.

His brother Sander Levin, three years his senior, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, representing the Detroit suburbs. In 2010, when Carl Levin led the Armed Services panel and his brother headed a House panel, they became the first brothers since 1881 to serve as congressional committee chairmen at the same time.

Levin was born in Detroit on June 28, 1934. He attended Harvard Law School and worked as a civil rights lawyer and public defender thereafter, before being elected to the Detroit City Council in 1969. He later served as council president before running for the Senate in 1978.

'It's been a long and wonderful run,' Levin said after winning re-election in 2008 at age 74. In 2013, he announced he would not seek re-election in 2014.

Levin is survived by his wife, Barbara Halpern-Levin, who he married in 1961, three daughters and six grandchildren. 

Several lawmakers have issued their condolences to his family on social media. 

Several lawmakers have issued their condolences to his family on social media

Several lawmakers have issued their condolences to his family on social media

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