Former Sen. Jim Jeffords Passes Away at 80

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., passed away Monday morning at the age of 80, a former aide to Jeffords confirmed to ABC News.

Jeffords, who once was a Republican before becoming an independent and caucusing with Democrats, was in declining health and died at the Knollwood Military Retirement Residence in Washington, D.C. around 7 a.m.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., weighed in on Jeffords’ death in a statement to ABC News.

“He was a partner in our work for Vermont, and he was a friend. He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation. Part of his legacy will also stand as an enduring chapter of the Senate’s history,” Leahy said.

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