Former Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin died Thursday at the age of 87, the Associated Press reported. Levin, a 36-year lawmaker, lent his name to an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer currently under construction at Bath Iron Works.

Obit Carl Levin

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. asks a question of a witness during a hearing on June 4, 2013. Levin, a powerful voice for the military during his career as Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator, died Thursday at 87. Associated Press/Susan Walsh

“The men and women of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works remain incredibly honored to be building the ship that bears Senator Levin’s name, which will carry the spirit of a steadfast defender of our nation’s security,” the shipyard wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

Levin’s family and the Levin Center at Wayne State University’s law school did not release a cause of death in an evening statement, according to the Associated Press. He had been living with lung cancer since age 83.

As the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he was known as a champion of the military and pushed for defense funding.

Levin came to Bath Iron Works in January 2019 to watch the keel-laying ceremony, which marks the start of construction on a ship, for the future USS Carl Levin.

The following month, Levin visited the Bath shipyard for a ceremony honoring the naming of the future warship during which he said he couldn’t “imagine a greater honor that an American citizen can receive than to have a U.S. Navy ship bear his name.”

“Despite the sorrow we now hold in our hearts, we look forward to a day when we will be able to pay proper tribute to the remarkable man for whom the future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) is named, and know that he will be with us in spirit,” BIW wrote Friday.

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