COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former South Carolina Senator Ernest "Fritz Hollings has died, and many in the state are paying tribute to him.
Hollings passed away Saturday at the age of 97.
Since his death, there's been an outpouring of support for Hollings from politicians, former colleagues and friends.
The current governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, said the state lost one of its "greatest lions" this weekend:
"One of South Carolina’s greatest lions roars no more. Fierce, bold, and robust – the sounds of Fritz Hollings’ vision and drive for the Palmetto State will continue to be heard by generations. The greatness and success of this state has benefited from the hand of his leadership. Peggy and I are heartened at his reunion with Peatsy and offer our prayers and condolences to the family."
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin called his passing the "end of an era," in a tweet:
State Senator Dick Harpootlian weighed-in also, calling Hollings a "state treasure" who will be truly missed.
"Hollings was an extraordinary human being that fought for average Americans," Harpootlian said. "He wasn't focused on creating some wealth or position for himself, but fighting for the people that couldn't fight for themselves. I've lost a great friend, a great mentor and the state's lost a great leader."
At the University of South Carolina, hundreds of boxes filled with speeches, letters and other memories of Hollings sit in a cool-kept cellar beneath the special collections library named in his honor.
Those documents will tell the story of his legacy for generations to come. A legacy Herbert Hartsook and Dorothy Walker have been working to preserve.
"The South Caroliniana Library created a new division of political collections with the gift of Sen. Hollings' papers," Hartsook said. "He was absolutely a game changer."
"He was an amazing public servant for South Carolina," Walker said. "He really shaped the state and the country in many ways over that great span of time.