George Voinovich, former Ohio governor, U.S. senator, Cleveland mayor, has died

'Ohio lost a true leader, visionary, statesman.'
Posted at 10:16 AM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 10:57:10-04

Longtime Ohio political leader George Voinovich died Sunday at his home, his family confirmed.

Voinovich served as Cleveland mayor 1980 to 1989, Ohio governor from 1991 to 1998, U.S. senator from 1999 to 2011.

"Fran and I are heartbroken by the news of George’s death.  Our hearts go out to his beloved wife Janet, their children, and their grandchildren," DeWine said in a statement. "George Voinovich was a good person -- a good man. Ohio lost a true leader, visionary, and statesman today."

DeWine served as Voinovich's Lt. Governor.

"George was a mentor to me, but he was also my friend," the attorney general said. "I was honored to serve as his Lieutenant Governor and had the great opportunity to watch him lead and see first-hand his management skills.

"He was a tireless worker.  George took home work every night and on the weekends," DeWine said. "His administrative style and philosophy were to hire good people, hold them accountable, but let them run their departments."

Sen. Rob Portman said "all Ohioans have suffered a great loss" in Voinovich's passing.

“George Voinovich exemplified everything good about public service," he said. "It was never about him, but always about helping others. He was an independent voice who never hesitated to speak his mind.

"The City of Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the nation benefited from his extraordinary service, but he had a special place in his heart for his beloved Cleveland," Portman said. "It is not an exaggeration to say he personally saved the city from default and revived the spirit of Cleveland through sheer force of will, an unyielding work ethic and an infectious optimism."

Kasich also released a statment, calling Voinovich a "voice of reason in the U.S. Senate" and a "unifier."

"I respected (Voinovich) greatly and had a deep affection for him," Kasich said. "His love for our state and his hometown of Cleveland was only surpassed by his love for his family and his wife Janet. He was guided by two ideas: love God and love your neighbor, and by faithfully applying them throughout his life he helped Ohioans see how much they could accomplish by working together.

“To his wife Janet, his children and his many grandchildren, my family sends our condolences and heartfelt prayers at this difficult time, and on behalf of Ohio I send my gratitude for sharing this wonderful, dynamic man with us for so many years.”