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Sargent Shriver, Former VP Candidate And Peace Corps Founder, Dies

Tracy Bloom |
January 18, 2011 | 4:19 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

Sargent Shriver (Creative Commons)
Sargent Shriver (Creative Commons)
Robert "Sargent" Shriver, Jr., a former Vice Presidential candidate and the first director of the Peace Corps, died Tuesday. He was 95.

According to a statement released by his family, Shriver was surrounded by his five children and 19 grandchildren when he passed away at a Washington-area hospital.

"He was a man of giant love, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment." the statement said. "He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful, and compassionate place. He centered everything on his faith and his family."

Shriver was a member of the Kennedy family through his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The pair married in 1953 and were together until her death in 2009. Shriver was also the father of former California First Lady Maria Shriver.

"As someone who has always believed very strongly in the power of the body and the power of the mind and the power of will, Sargent taught me a new power: the power of the heart," former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

NBC News reported: "Shriver, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his final years, had been an advocate for the poor and powerless. He helped launch President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty and became the driving force behind social programs such as Head Start, Legal Services and VISTA."

He also helped his wife create the Special Olympics in 1968.

"I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Sargent Shriver, one of the brightest lights of the greatest generation," President Obama said in a statement. "Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Sarge came to embody the idea of public service."

Shriver served as George McGovern's running mate on the 1972 Democratic Presidential ticket.

A World War II veteran, Shriver also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1994.



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