Former U.S. senator and OSU alumnus dies at 72

Tom Coburn

Former U.S. Senator and OSU alumnus died Saturday morning after a long fight with prostate cancer. He was 72.

Former U.S. Senator and Oklahoma State alumnus Tom Coburn died Saturday morning after a long fight against prostate cancer. He was 72.

"Tom A. Coburn, MD, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully at home this morning surrounded by his family," his family said in a statement. "Because of his strong faith, he rested in the hope found in John chapter 11 verse 25 where Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, will live, even though they die.' Today he lives in heaven."

Coburn was born March 14, 1948, in Casper, Wyoming, and grew up in Muskogee. He graduated from OSU as a top ten senior from the College of Business Administration with a bachelor of science in accounting in 1970. He later attended the University of Oklahoma Medical School and graduated in 1983.

Coburn served in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms from 1995 to 2001 and later in U.S. Senate from 2005 to 2015.

He was a staunch conservative, and he consistently fought against what he considered to be unnecessary spending and fought for anti-abortion legislation. In 2011, he was a member of the “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group that worked on a proposal to cut the U.S. federal debt by trillions of dollars.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 and announced his retirement from Congress in 2014, two years before the end of his second Senate term.

In a statement Saturday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter expressed his condolences to the Coburn family.

"I was privileged to know Tom as a friend and colleague,” Hunter sadi. “He was a man of principle and dauntless in his pursuit of conservative policy objectives. I often thought of him as the embodiment of Theodore Roosevelt's Man in the Arena comment in his Citizenship in a Republic speech, which surmised that the credit belongs to the man who dares greatly.”

In a tweet Saturday, President Burns Hargis also expressed his condolences.

“It’s a sad day for the Cowboy Family,” Hargis’ tweet said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Tom Coburn.”