WASHINGTON, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Walter Mondale, the former U.S. vice president under President Jimmy Carter and the 1984 Democratic presidential nominee, has died at 93, his family announced Monday.
"It is with profound sadness that we share news that our beloved dad passed away today in Minneapolis, Minnesota," Mondale's family said.
The family said Mondale died "peacefully from natural causes."
Before serving as vice president during Carter's one-term presidency, Mondale was U.S. senator representing Minnesota for 12 years, and much earlier, the Minnesota attorney general for four years. He also served as U.S. ambassador to Japan during the Bill Clinton administration.
"Today I mourn the passing of my dear friend Walter Mondale, who I consider the best vice president in our country's history. During our administration, Fritz used his political skill and personal integrity to transform the vice presidency into a dynamic, policy-driving force that had never been seen before and still exists today," Carter said in a statement. Mondale was referred to by family members and friends as Fritz.
Bidding for the White House four years after Carter lost his second term to Ronald Reagan, Mondale was defeated by Reagan in the latter's landslide re-election campaign in 1984. The race was largely defined by Mondale's declaration to raise taxes, which he said years later "was very unpopular" at the time, but "undeniably correct."
During the 1984 election, however, Mondale made history by tapping then Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate, making the latter the first woman to be on a major party's presidential ticket.
Throughout his public career, Mondale has been a champion of liberal political ideas, supporting civil rights measures, consumer protection legislation, health care expansion, and more aid for children and the poor.
"I'm a liberal or a progressive," Mondale told the New York Times in a 2010 interview. "I didn't use the 'liberal' word much, because I thought it carried too much baggage. But my whole life, I worked on the idea that government can be an instrument for social progress. We need that progress. Fairness requires it."