Harold Hughes, 74, a truck driver who beat alcoholism to become a three-term governor and a U.S. senator, died Thursday in Glendale, Ariz., where he had retired. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Hughes quit politics at the height of his popularity, retiring from the Senate after one term in 1974 to devote himself to lay religious work and to open the Harold Hughes Center for alcoholism treatment.
The last Democrat elected governor of Iowa, he was often credited with bringing the party into play as a competitive force in a state that had been dominated by Republicans.
"He just understood people really well," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. "He came from the wrong side of the tracks, and he was never afraid to talk about that. He always stuck up for people who started from the bottom."