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Former US Sen. Richard Lugar, foreign policy expert, dies

FILE - In a Jan. 16, 2008 file photo, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, points during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine. Former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican foreign policy sage known for leading efforts to help the former Soviet states dismantle and secure much of their nuclear arsenal, died Sunday, April 28, 2019 at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia. He was 87. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)

INDIANAPOLIS — Former longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a foreign policy expert who helped spur the dismantling and securing of thousands of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet states, has died. He was 87.

The Lugar Center issued a statement saying Lugar died early Sunday at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia.

Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar who was first elected to the Senate in 1976, after eight years as Indianapolis mayor.

He was a generally loyal conservative but lost his bid for a seventh Senate term in the 2012 GOP primary after attacks over his reputation for cooperation with Democrats and friendliness with President Barack Obama.

Lugar gained little traction with a 1996 run for president, but he focused on the threat of terrorism years ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks.