Carl Levin, a former US senator from Michigan who advanced Democratic priorities throughout his 36-year tenure in Congress, has died, the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School said late Thursday in a statement.

“Whether he was chairing a hearing on critical national security issues or working on behalf of his home state, he believed that collaboration and compromise served our common purpose better than partisanship and political brinkmanship. He was a clarion voice for a military strong enough to defend our nation and uphold American values. He was a tireless advocate for the positive role that government can play in the lives of the American people and a relentless watchdog ensuring that government programs meet their commitments,” the statement from the Levin family and Levin Center says in part.
The former senator died Thursday at age 87.

First elected to Congress 1978, Levin was the longest-serving US senator in Michigan’s history. A Swarthmore College graduate who earned his law degree at Harvard, Levin prioritized civil rights advocacy early in his career through work at the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. He leveraged his work as a public defender in Detroit — where he grew up — and on the Detroit City Council to launch a national political career that saw him become a champion of the Democratic Party.