Reports have confirmed that former Senator and President pro tempore Ted Stephens of Alaska, along with four other passsengers, have been killed in a plane crash along an Alaskan mountain. From Yahoo News:

JUNEAU, Alaska – A single-engine plane carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens crashed into a remote Alaska mountainside, killing the state’s most beloved political figure and four others and stranding the survivors on brush-and-rock-covered slopes overnight until rescuers could reach them.

Volunteers discovered the wreckage late Monday and tended to the injured, including Stevens’ fishing buddy, ex-NASA chief Sean O’Keefe, until help could arrive Tuesday.

The 86-year-old Stevens’ death stunned both lawmakers and residents alike, even in a state familiar with plane crashes, because of his pre-eminence in Alaska history: A decorated World War II pilot who survived a deadly 1978 plane crash, he was the longest-serving GOP senator in history and spent his 40-year Senate career bringing billions of federal dollars home. One failed effort — the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” — became part of his national legacy, as did convictions that helped foil his 2008 campaign but were later tossed out.

Read the rest of the article here.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Sen. Stephens, truth be told. I thought he was a real jerk at times. But I can also appreciate his progressive stance on various positions. I certainly can’t go without acknowledging his role in drafting and pushing key legislation contributing to Alaska’s overall economic and social advancement. It’s just a shame that his career was stained by his recent ethics problems. But what politician isn’t involved in some kind of ethics scandal, right Charlie? Right, Maxine? More on you two clowns in the near future.

Anyway, my prayers and condolences go out to the entire Stephens family.