NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Former New York State Sen. Bill Larkin has died at the age of 91.

“American and the State of New York have lost a dedicated public servant, soldier and statements. Our family lost a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and so much more,” his family said in a statement Sunday.

Larkin served in the New York Legislature for 40 years, representing the Hudson Valley first in the Assembly and then in the Senate.

The Republican is remembered for his bipartisan friendships, as well as his support for veterans.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Larkin — a decorated war hero who dedicated over 70 years of his life to public service, including over 40 years in the State Legislature. He was a constant force for good, including when he guarded Martin Luther King, Jr. during his storied march from Selma to Montgomery. Senator Larkin led by example every day of his life and was an inspiration to me and countless others who wanted nothing more than to serve the people of this great state and nation,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “Senator Larkin began his lifetime of public service by serving in combat during World War II, and it continued during the Korean War and 23 more years of service in the United States Army. We owe him and his family the greatest debt of gratitude for his heroism and tireless devotion to our country. On behalf of the New York family, I extend my condolences to Senator Larkin’s family, including his wife Patricia, 8 children, 17 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.”

“It is with deep sadness and boundless gratitude for his lifetime of service that we join in mourning the passing of Senator Bill Larkin. It was clear to everyone who encountered him that Senator Larkin cared deeply about people, and personified what it means to live in service of others. From his days as a decorated soldier to his exemplary record of achievement in the state senate, Bill Larkin left an indelible mark on the world,” NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement of his own. “On behalf of the New York State Republican Party, Erin and I offer our condolences to his wife, Patricia, their children, grandchildren and the entire Larkin family. We lost one of America’s greats, but he will never be forgotten.”

“Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of New York State Senator Bill Larkin. Bill was an honorable man, legislator and veteran. He was an advocate for all veterans, champion for the Hudson Valley, and will be deeply missed. My thoughts are with his family,” Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted. 

“We were from different political parties and generations, but we became fast friends, sometimes to the frustration of harder partisans on both sides. I loved watching Bill work, and he taught me how to be a better public servant, because he loved the people he represented and thought endlessly about how to make their lives better. His service to veterans and military families was second to none. We’ve lost a great and good man,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Before running for office, Larkin was lieutenant colonel in the Army during World War II.