Senator Dies in Crash

Paul Wellstone

Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, his wife and daughter, and several members of his campaign staff, died in a plane crash Friday in northeastern Minnesota.

Wellstone was among eight people killed earlier Friday when their small plane went down near an airport near Eveleth, Minnesota.

Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi called the crash "too heartbreaking for words." He added in a written statement, "For the entire United States Senate, this is a death in our family. Our prayers are with Paul Wellstone's family and the people he served."

Mississippi Congressman Ronnie Shows also released a statement.

"This is a horrible tragedy," said Shows. "It just proves how precious life is. I pray for the Wellstone family and friends as I do for the family and friends of the staff members and pilots who were with him."

Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby say they're shocked and saddened by the death of a fellow Senator.

Sessions said the Democrat was a "delightful and engaging advocate for his views.''

The Mobile Republican, who served with Wellstone on the Senate Health and Education Committee, said conservatives respected him because he believed in what he fought for.

Sessions said the tragedy is compounded because the crash also claimed lives of Wellstone's wife and daughter.

Shelby said Wellstone was "a truly kind and principled man'' whose loss "will be greatly felt in the U.S. Senate.''