Former Sen. Jesse Helms (R), who represented North Carolina for 30 years, died early Friday morning at age 86.
The Heritage Foundation reported on its Web site that he died at 1:18 a.m., and Jimmy Broughton, Helms’ former chief of staff, told the Associated Press that he died of natural causes in Raleigh.
Helms served on multiple committees during his tenure in the Senate, most notably as chairman of the Foreign Relations panel. Helms pushed a hard-line conservative agenda that often divided Congress over racial issues, as well as international relations.
Helms retired in 2003 due to ill health and was succeeded by Elizabeth Dole (R).