MONTPELIER (AP) - Former Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords, who in 2001 tipped control of the Senate when he quit the Republican Party to become an independent, died Monday at the age of 80. Some reaction to his death:

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"While we are saddened by our father's passing, we take comfort in the knowledge that he lived a full life, from the hills of Vermont to the halls of Congress. We will miss his kindness, his good humor, and his generosity of spirit." - Jeffords children, Laura Jeffords and Leonard Jeffords.

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"He was a partner in our work for Vermont, and he was a friend. He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation. Part of his legacy will also stand as an enduring chapter of the Senate's history." - U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

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"While Jim would certainly wave away the notion, he was indeed a legend in Vermont and the nation. With characteristic decency, humility and civility, and a dogged persistence, he made his mark in Congress. Millions of children with disabilities are better off today because he led the charge for their equal access to education. Americans are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water because of his fierce advocacy for the environment and clean energy. And budding artists across the nation receive the boost of his encouragement every year thanks to his legacy as the founder of the annual Congressional Arts Competition.


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" - U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.

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"Jim followed in the footsteps of Senators Bob Stafford and George Aiken, always putting the interests of Vermonters and the nation ahead of partisan politics. He followed his sense of right in all that he did, and was never afraid to seek compromise by reaching across the aisle for the good of our country." - Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.

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"The story of Vermont politics cannot be told without Jim Jeffords. He served in the most honorable way a person can serve: Selflessly, and always with the best interests of others at heart. He did what he felt was right, not what he felt would make him popular." - Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.

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"He was a very fine, decent man. We're grateful for his service." - U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.