File photo of Fred Thomson. (AFP)
Fred Thompson, the folksy former US senator from Tennessee and Hollywood actor, has died after losing a battle to lymphoma, his family said Sunday. He was 73.
"It is with a heavy heart and deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family," the family said in a statement.
The Republican jumped back and forth between acting and politics. His last Senate term ended in 2003. Born in Alabama, Thompson first married at 17 and studied law.
And as an attorney, he helped press the investigation that led to to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Thompson served as chief Republican counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee that investigated Nixon.
The former senator known for a straight-talking style and booming voice appeared in films such as "The Hunt for Red October" and "Cape Fear."
"Fred believed that the greatness of our nation was defined by the hard work, faith and honesty of its people," the family statement said.
"He had an enduring belief in the exceptionalism of our country, and that America could provide the opportunity for any boy or girl, in any corner of our country, to succeed in life."
Thompson ran for the Republican presidential nomination of 2008 but dropped out after failing to gain enough traction.
Thompson is survived by five children, three of them from his first marriage Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey and two from his now widow Jeri Kehn Thompson. He also had several grandchildren.