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Former US Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, 90, dead from dementia

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Adlai Stevenson III, left, donates an American flag used in the 1892 Cleveland and Stevenson campaign to Greg Koos and the McLean County Museum of History on April 9, 2009, during the "Democracy Remembered: Abraham Lincoln, Jesse Fell and the Stevensons" lecture at Milner Library at Illinois State University in Normal.

CHICAGO — Former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, a member of the influential Illinois political family,  has died at his home on Chicago's North Side. He was 90.

His son Adlai Stevenson IV, who confirmed the Illinois Democrat’s death, said his father had dementia, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Before his health declined, Stevenson kept active organizing presentations and speakers for the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy in Libertyville. He also worked on the family farm in Hanover, raising cattle, growing corn and hay for their feed, and chopping wood.

“He just faded away,” his son said.

Stevenson's great-grandfather Adlai E. Stevenson I was raised in Bloomington and whose political career eventually led to becoming vice president of the United States. Adlai Stevenson II was ambassador to the United Nations, governor of Illinois and two-time presidential candidate. Both are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington. 

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in a statement said: “Adlai was my friend and partner in countless causes over the years. Like his father before him, Adlai was most at home in the cerebral world of politics. His most effective ally in retail politics was his beloved wife, Nancy. The two were inseparable and one of the best teams in Illinois Democratic politics. Loretta and I send our love and sympathy to Nancy and the family.”

A Marine Corps veteran of the Korean War and Harvard University graduate, Adlai Stevenson III ran for governor of Illinois twice, losing his 1982 run by just 5,074 votes to Republican Gov. Jim Thompson. It is the closest Illinois election for governor in modern state history.

When running for the Senate, he asked then-Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley for advice.

“My advice to you is don’t change your name,” Daley told him, the newspaper reported. 

He spoke at the McLean County Museum of History in 2010 about his book, "The Black Book: Lessons from American History, Abraham Lincoln to Modern China." 

"This was in an era of service, and patriotism wasn't just something that you would only wear on your lapel but something that was cultivated through a lifetime," he said. "We must recall America's values, and to face our past to succeed in the future."

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