Former VP candidate, Congressman, and conservative stalwart Jack Kemp died today at age 73:

Jack Kemp, the ex-quarterback, congressman, one-time vice-presidential nominee and self-described “bleeding-heart conservative” died Saturday.

His spokeswoman Bona Park and longtime friend and former campaign adviser Edwin J. Feulner confirmed that Kemp died after a lengthy illness.

Kemp had announced in January 2009 that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said he was undergoing tests but gave no other detail.

Thank you, sir, for a life of service.  Our prayers go out to his family for their loss.

Update: American Spectator on the importance of Jack Kemp, from January of this year:

“When you tax something you get less of it, and when you reward something you get more of it.”

With that simple exhortation — and this is a man born to exhort — Jack Kemp changed his party, changed his country and, ultimately, changed the world.

He had some help, of course. Ronald Reagan, notably. Robert Bartley and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. The late Jude Wanniski, one-time member of the WSJ board and author of The Way the World Works. Arthur Laffer, he of the famous Laffer Curve. Others. A number of distinguished others.

Yet for an idea to revolutionize the way the world thinks and works, in the American system it helps if one holds elective or appointed office. Elected as a Congressman from the unlikely world-changing precincts of Buffalo, New York, where he had come to fame as the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, Kemp evolved into the enthusiastic godfather of what became known as “Reaganomics.” or, in its other, equally familiar designation, “supply-side” economics.

Kemp had the courage to move beyond the usual issues for conservatives, choosing to work on poverty and housing issues, and challenging his fellow conservatives to make conservatism work across the board.  It’s one of the reasons why Kemp will be missed.