Former Illinois Sen. Charles Percy dies at 91

Former Illinois Sen. Charles Percy, right, introduces Mark Hambley to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at Capitol Hill in Washington. Photo taken in Oct. 15, 1993.

CHICAGO (AP) - West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller's office says his father-in-law, former Illinois Sen. Charles Percy, has died in Washington at age 91.

Percy represented Illinois in the Senate for almost 20 years. He was once mentioned as a possible presidential candidate but came to power when moderate-to-liberal Republicans were becoming unfashionable. He ended up backing Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976 rather than pursuing it himself.

Percy was the sponsor of a resolution calling for a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal and a critic of the Vietnam War. He served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before losing his bid for re-election to Democrat Paul Simon in 1984.

Percy's daughter, Sharon Rockefeller, announced in March 2009 that he had Alzheimer's disease.