Former Sen. Paul Sarbanes of Maryland has died, at 87

FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2005 file photo, retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes speaks to a crowd during a reception in his honor in Baltimore. Sarbanes, a former U.S. senator who represented Maryland for 30 years in the Senate, died Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, according to a statement by his son, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes. The statement did not reveal the cause of Sarbanes death.  (AP Photo/Matthew S. Gunby, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2005 file photo, retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes speaks to a crowd during a reception in his honor in Baltimore. Sarbanes, a former U.S. senator who represented Maryland for 30 years in the Senate, died Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, according to a statement by his son, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes. The statement did not reveal the cause of Sarbanes death. (AP Photo/Matthew S. Gunby, File) (AP2005)

WASHINGTON – Former Sen. Paul Sarbanes, who represented Maryland for 30 years in the Senate as a leader of financial regulatory reform and drafted the first article of impeachment against Republican President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal as a congressman, has died, his son said. He was 87.

Sarbanes, who retired from the Senate in 2006 and also served six years as a U.S. representative, was a Democrat known for avoiding the spotlight while quietly pursuing liberal goals.

Rep. John Sarbanes, the late senator's son, said his father died peacefully Sunday night in Baltimore.

“Our family is grateful to know that we have the support of Marylanders who meant so much to him and whom he was honored to serve," he said in a statement. "Following state, local and public health guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our family will hold a private service in the coming days.”

The statement did not reveal the cause of death.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Maryland and all Americans lost “a leader and public servant of dignity and principle,” who worked tirelessly over 40 years to bring “integrity, transparency and oversight to Washington.”

“In Congress, Paul Sarbanes was respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his humility, tenacity and keen intellect," Pelosi said in a statement.

Sarbanes entered politics in 1966 with a successful run for Maryland’s House of Delegates before reaching Congress four year later.