Former NY State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno dies at age 91

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, a towering force in state politics for decades, has died. He was 91.

Bruno served as senate majority leader from 1994 to 2008 and was the state's highest-ranking Republican during much of the time.

After abruptly announcing he would not seek reelection, he was charged and convicted of federal corruption. But the verdict was overturned on appeal and a subsequent retrial resulted in his acquittal.

State politicians tweeted condolences upon learning of his passing.

Former Gov. George Pataki released a statement:

"Libby and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our good friend Joe Bruno. Joe left his mark as the leader of the New York State Senate. For 12 years Joe Bruno was a tremendous partner in Albany as we tackled the tough problems to bring New York back from the brink of ruin. On issue after issue, Joe was an indispensable ally. From reforming our criminal justice system to keep violent criminals behind bars to jobs and economic development, Joe was a stalwart leader. The success of Global Foundries is a testament to our partnership and a huge part of Joe's lasting legacy of advocacy for the Capital Region.

In the best of times and the worst, I could always count on Joe to be forthright with his opinion. And while we didn't always agree, Joe's handshake was his bond and together we made a difference. Joe will be remembered for his leadership, wit, candor, grit in the face of adversity and his fierce advocacy for the Capital Region. Our deepest condolences to Kay and Joe's children Joseph, Susan, Kenneth, Catherine."

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