The family of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens released the following statement Tuesday:
"Alaska and the nation he so loved, have lost a great man. We have lost a tremendous husband and father and grandfather. He loved Alaska with all his heart. He was a guiding light through Statehood and the development of the 49th State. Now that light is gone but the warmth and radiance of his life and his work will shine forever in the last frontier. His legacy is the 49th star on the American flag.
"In Washington, Ted was always willing to cross the aisle to accomplish great things. He was a tireless defender of our armed forces. He was a leader in so many endeavors: conservation of our fisheries, responsible development of our national resources and harnessing the potential of the state and nation he loved so dearly.
"He was a patriot and a true American success story. He came from humble roots but willed his way through flight school, service in World War II, Harvard law school and all the way to the U.S. Senate. He loved the Senate and was a fierce advocate of its role in our Democracy and its responsibility under the Constitution which reserves the power of the purse to the legislative branch.
"We grieve for the dear friends who also lost their lives and we thank the courageous men and women of the Alaskan Command, the Alaska National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Alaska State Troopers for their rescue and recovery efforts."