He died Sunday morning at his home in Philadelphia after a battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Lisa Sylvester takes a look back at the life and career of the man who served Pennsylvania longer than any other senator.
In his 30 years in the US Senate, Arlen Specter survived a lot; a benign brain tumor, bruising partisan battles, and a major political shift.
In 2005, we all watched Senator Specter's first bout with cancer play out in public. He had just won a tough battle for the job he'd coveted, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Then, in 2008, his Hodgkin's Disease cancer came back. The public watched as the chemo made him balder, and paler, and weaker and sicker. What we did not know at the time -- was the worse Specter looked -- the better he was getting.
He said he planned to be in politics a long time. And more political battles were in store. Facing almost certain defeat from a more conservative opponent in the Republican 2010 primary, Specter did the unthinkable. He switched parties, becoming a Democrat. He won President Obama's endorsement. But he incurred the wrath of many Pennsylvania voters. Specter lost the 2010 primary to then-congressman Joe Sestak, effectively ending his political career.
The former prosecutor will be remembered as a tough interrogator of Supreme Court nominees as Judiciary Committee Chairman, a champion for medical research, and a staunch supporter of women's rights, especially a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.