Specter had announced in August a recurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system. His son Shanin Specter confirmed his death.
Resilient, smart and aggressive, the former prosecutor frequently riled conservatives and liberals on his way to becoming Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator. He was elected to five six-year terms starting in 1980. He left the Republican Party because he said it had become too conservative.