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Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce dies at 75

The Arizona Senate Republicans said the former state senator had passed away from an illness.

MESA, Ariz. — Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has died. He was 75.

A spokesperson for the Arizona Senate Republicans said Thursday that Pearce had passed away at his home from an illness.

"Pearce was a God-fearing man and loved his country with all his heart. He was an ardent champion for secure borders and gave his all when it came to preventing the violence associated with dangerous cartel encroaching into our communities," the Senate Republicans wrote in a statement.

Pearce was born in Mesa and worked for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office before he was elected to the Arizona Legislature in 2000.

Pearce was known as the primary sponsor of SB 1070, the controversial piece of immigration legislation that sparked several boycotts and protests.

A year after that legislation passed, Pearce was removed from office after he lost a recall election. 

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