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

Posted at 9:18 AM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 15:30:56-04

Former Cleveland mayor George Voinovich has died.

According to the Voinovich family, the former U.S. senator and governor passed away early Sunday. He was 79.

Voinovich's wife, Janet, told she will miss everything about him. "He was God’s gift to me and his fellow man,” she said.

Voinovich, who was born in Cleveland, served Ohioans through many titles throughout his more than 46 years of public service.

From 1999 to 2011, he served as a former United States Senator in Ohio. Voinovich, a member of the Republican Party, also served as the 65th governor of Ohio and as the 54th mayor of Cleveland.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame issued the following statement on Voinovich's passing:

George Voinovich was a visionary who got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame built in Cleveland, established it as a cultural icon, and laid the foundation for the museum as economic engine for Ohio. Our condolences to the family for this major loss.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called Voinovich a good person and a good man. His statement reads in part: 

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.

George Voinovich was a good person -- a good man.  He was a man of deep religious faith, and it was that faith that guided him in his decisions.  He truly lived his belief that with God, all things are possible. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he was a "unifier who thought outside the box." "His love for our state and his hometown of Cleveland was only surpassed by his love for his family and his wife Janet," said Kasich in a statement Sunday. "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."

The Ohio Republican Party called Voinovich "Ohio's favorite son."

We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Ohio's favorite son, George Voinovich, this morning. Voinovich served more than 46 years in public office and defined what it means to be a public servant. George Voinovich was a man of integrity who dedicated his life to serving Cleveland and the state of Ohio. As Mayor, Voinovich saved Cleveland from default and led a comeback campaign for the city. He proficiently governed Ohio and served as a voice of reason in the U.S. Senate. George Voinovich is the most prolific vote-getter in the history of Ohio. Our hearts go out to his wife Janet and their children and grandchildren.

Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement:

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Honorable George V. Voinovich. He was a uniquely talented leader who served our state and the city of Cleveland selflessly as Governor, Senator, and as a fellow Mayor of the City of Cleveland. He will be missed.
He was a real Clevelander. We did not look at him as a Republican or a Democrat but, as a Clevelander who we supported. He was a great man, a good leader, and consummate professional.