Former Illinois Sen. Charles Percy dies at 91

September 17, 2011 - 10:20 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller's office says his father-in-law, former Illinois Sen. Charles Percy, has died in Washington at age 91.

Percy represented Illinois in the Senate for almost 20 years. He was once mentioned as a possible presidential candidate but came to power when moderate-to-liberal Republicans were becoming unfashionable. He ended up backing Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976 rather than pursuing it himself.

Percy was the sponsor of a resolution calling for a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal and a critic of the Vietnam War. He served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before losing his bid for re-election to Democrat Paul Simon in 1984.

Percy's daughter, Sharon Rockefeller, announced in March 2009 that he had Alzheimer's disease.