Former Montana senator John Melcher died Thursday at his home in Missoula, his daughter confirmed with the New York Times.

Melcher was 45 when he went to Washington in 1969.

He was known for embracing both economic development and environmental protections for Montana.

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Senator Jon Tester and Governor Steve Bullock commented on Melcher’s passing.

“As a father, husband, veteran and veterinarian, John Melcher never stopped fighting for Montana. He was a steadfast leader who dedicated his life’s work to serving his country, supporting his family and friends, and helping those he never met. His lasting legacy will be felt for generations to come. Sharla and I remember him dearly and send our blessings to those he loved,” Tester said.

“Senator Melcher was a statesman whose legacy of decency and dedication to public service and to the people of Montana set a high bar for all those who followed in his footsteps. Lisa and my thoughts are with John’s family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time,” Bullock said.

Melcher was 93.

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