Todd Akin speaks during a rally outside the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo., September 21, 2012. (Sarah Conard/Reuters)

Former Representative Todd Akin, a staunch pro-lifer from Missouri, passed away on Sunday at 74-years-old after a years-long battle with cancer.

Akin died at his home and is survived by his son Perry Akin, who first confirmed the development to the Associated Press.

“As my father’s death approached, we had people from all different walks of life share story after story of the personal impact he had on them,” Akin told the AP in a statement.

“He was a devout Christian, a great father, and a friend to many. We cherish many fond memories from him driving the tractor at our annual hayride, to his riveting delivery of the freedom story at 4th of July parties dressed in the full uniform of a colonial minuteman. The family is thankful for his legacy: a man with a servant’s heart who stood for truth,” he said.

For over a decade, Akin senior served in the House of Representatives as the congressman for Missouri’s second congressional district. In May 2011, he launched a bid to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. During that campaign, he drew the ire and outrage of members of both parties, including former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, for a comment he made dismissing the gravity of rape.

When asked by a St. Louis television station if he believed abortion exceptions should be allowed for women who are raped, Akin replied, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

While Akin apologized the next day, he was quickly urged to withdraw from the race, but he did not heed the demands. He lost to McCaskill by nearly 15 percentage points before retiring to civilian life.

In a tweet Monday, his former opponent offered parting words that honored the congressman’s commitment to his principles despite their ideological conflicts.

“I just learned that Todd Akin has died. He was a nice man, and although we had major disagreements about just about everything, he was authentic to his beliefs. He actually believed in everything he said, which is a tribute to his character. My thoughts are with his lovely family,” McCaskill said.

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