McGovern, Nixon's rival in 1972 US prez race, dies

McGovern, Nixon's rival in 1972 US prez race, dies

Former US Senator George McGovern, whose anti-Vietnam War stance in his 1972 presidential race against Richard Nixon led to one of the worst electoral defeats in US history, died on Sunday at the age of 90, his family said.

McGovern had been admitted to a South Dakota hospice suffering from a combination of medical conditions due to age that had worsened in recent months.

McGovern had been hospitalised several times in the past year after complaining of fatigue after a book tour, a fall before a scheduled television appearance, and dizzy spells.

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace,” a statement released by his family said.

“He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer.”

McGovern, who served in the Senate for South Dakota from 1963 to 1981, challenged Nixon in 1972 on a platform opposing the war in Vietnam. He suffered one of the most lopsided defeats in US history, taking only 37.5 per cent of the vote and carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.