Jeremiah Denton, Vietnam POW and ex-senator, dies - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Jeremiah Denton, Vietnam POW and ex-senator, dies

Jeremiah Denton (Official U.S. Senate photo) Jeremiah Denton (Official U.S. Senate photo)

Former Alabama Sen. Jeremiah Denton, who survived 7½ years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and alerted the U.S. military to conditions there when he blinked the word "torture" in Morse code during a television interview, has died. He was 89.     

Denton's grandson, Edward Denton, says he died about 8 a.m. Friday at a hospice facility surrounded by family. Edward Denton says his grandfather had been in declining health for the past year and died from heart problems.     

Denton, a Republican who served a single term in the U.S. Senate, was a strong advocate of conservative causes and backer of the Reagan administration. But the iron will that served him in such good stead in captivity gave rise to criticism that he was too rigid as a politician.

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby issued a statement upon learning of the death saying, " Admiral Denton will be long remembered for his service to America. He was a war hero, an honorable senator, and a family man who cared deeply about his country. I send my deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time."

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions added, "Jeremiah Denton was afriend, warrior, leader, and hero. The nation will never forget his couragewhen, having enduredbrutal torture as a POW in Vietnam, he defied andoutsmarted his captors and broadcast a Morse code message to the world. He wasa man of grit and character that can't be manufactured. His word was his bondand his loyalty was unshakable."

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley issued a statement saying, "America would not be free without the service and sacrifice of veterans like Jeremiah Denton. Senator Denton fought for freedom and served his country with bravery and honor. Alabama is grateful for his public service, both in the military and as the first Republican since Reconstruction to represent Alabama in the United States Senate. Dianne and I will be praying for his family during this difficult time."

Read more on Senator Denton -

http://www.wsfa.com/story/25100872/jeremiah-denton-vietnam-pow-and-ex-senator-dies

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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