Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois, who spent 12 years on Capitol Hill, has died.
His son Jeffrey Dixon tells The Associated Press that the 86-year-old died Sunday at his home in Fairview Heights.
He had recently been hospitalized for heart problems, but his condition had improved and he had returned home.
Dixon served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993. He also had a long career in state politics, serving in the Illinois House, Illinois Senate and as the state's treasurer and secretary of state.
He lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in 1992 to Carol Moseley Braun. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
The Belleville-born Dixon was an attorney.
His memoir titled "The Gentleman from Illinois" was published in 2013.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield - the Senate's No. 2 official - says Dixon was known for his honesty, hard work and commitment to Illinois.
He says Dixon was the first statewide Democrat to voluntarily make a full disclosure of his financial holdings and started bipartisan Illinois congressional lunches - which continue today.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago says Dixon was a "great leader and representative who always put the public's interests first.''
And Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk called Dixon a 'dedicated public servant who spent the majority of his life representing the people of Illinois'. "But for his leadership, Illinois would have lost Scott Air Force Base - the largest employer south of I-80. We owe Alan a debt of gratitude for all he did for our state.," said Kirk, in a press release.
Dixon began his professional career as a public official.