His foundation released a statement announcing his death, but did not give any cause.
He was a staunch conservative on all economic and social issues. However, he also worked with Democrats many times in his long career on issues such as stem cell research, rights for people with disabilities, and expanding child's health insurance. He also made friendships with both Democrats and Republicans, especially the late Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Hatch was also a champion of GOP issues such as abortion limits, and helped to shape the U.S. Supreme Court. He even defended Justice Clarence Thomas from sexual harassment allegations during confirmation hearings.
Later, he became a Republican presidential ally. He used his position as chairman of Senate Finance Committee to bring a major overhaul of U.S. tax codes directly to Trump's desk. Trump was able to help Hatch address a crucial issue facing Republicans in Utah by helping him make a contentious decision to dramatically reduce the size of two national monuments that were declared by previous presidents.
Hatch retired in 2019. Trump encouraged Hatch to run again. The long-serving senator would have faced a difficult primary battle and had promised to quit. Hatch, who was a critic of Trump, decided to step aside and encourage Republican Mitt Romney to run for his place.
"Few men have made a mark on the Senate like he did," Romney wrote as a tribute to his friend. Utah's Senator Mike Lee called Hatch "a friend. A mentor. And an example to me and countless other people."
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky praised Hatch for his legislative acumen.
McConnell stated in a statement that Orrin's leadership over decades drove a unending list of landmark legislative achievements and confirmations. He was a young conservative principled conservative who entered the Senate in the 1970s, when the modern conservative movement wasn't yet a thing. He remained true to his principles throughout his career and applied them to issues such as the 2017 tax reform law and work of the Judiciary Committee to our country's immense benefit.
Hatch was also known for his side hustle as a singer/recording artist of music that featured themes from his religious faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elaine, his wife and six of their children are still with him.
After a 1976 win, Hatch was elected to the Senate. He went on to become the longest-serving senator of Utah history, winning a seventh term. When the Senate was taken over by the Republicans in 2015, Hatch became the Senate president pro-tempore. He was third in the order of presidential succession after Joe Biden, the Vice President, and the Speaker of Congress. His tenure ranks him behind many Democrats as the longest GOP senator.
Hatch was back to one issue throughout his career: limiting or outlawing abortion. This position put Hatch at the heart of one of the most controversial issues in the country. Hatch was also the author of several "Hatch amendments" that sought to reduce the availability of abortions.
He became well-known as Thomas's most vocal defender against the sexual harassment claims of Anita Hill, a law professor. Hatch read aloud "The Exorcist" at the confirmation hearings and suggested that Hill had stolen details from the book.
Hatch was unquestionably conservative but there were times when he differed from his conservative colleagues, including George W. Bush at the time Hatch advocated federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Kennedy and Hatch co-sponsored a $24 Billion program that would have allowed states to offer health insurance to low-income children who aren't eligible for Medicaid in 1997.
A. Scott Anderson, Hatch Foundation chairman, said in a statement that Hatch exemplified a generation of legislators raised on the principles of comity. Orrin Hatch showed us how to be better in a divided nation by forging lasting friendships across the aisle. We would be well advised to follow his lead today, more than ever.
Hatch was also instrumental in the passage of legislation that made child pornography more severe and illegally downloading music more criminally punishable.
Hatch was not interested in the music-download issue. He was a Mormon member and often wrote songs about religion. He also recorded music to help him relax from the stress of Washington. In 2005, Hatch received about $39,000 in royalty payments from his songs.
After appearing on "WOW Hits 2005", a compilation of Christian pop songs, one of his songs, "Unspoken," became a platinum hit.
Hatch ran for the Republican nomination in 2000. He claimed he was more experienced in Washington than his rivals and could work well with Democrats. Hatch admitted that winning was a distant dream. After winning only 1 percent of the vote in Iowa, Hatch withdrew and endorsed George W. Bush.
After he pulled out of the bipartisan negotiations on the legislation, he became a staunch opponent of President Barack Obama’s 2009 health care law. He said about the legislation, "It's 2,074 pages long." It's enough to make you groan.
Two years after long-serving Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett was swept out by a tea party wave, Hatch had to face a difficult re-election fight from a conservative candidate. Bennett and Hatch voted for a 2008 bank bailout, which upset those on the far left.
Hatch invested approximately $10 million in his 2012 race, and worked hard to gain support from tea party conservatives.
Hatch was used playing tough. He learned boxing in Pittsburgh as a child to defend himself against the attacks of larger, older students. He was not afraid to fight and said that he made it a point to quickly make friends with anyone who had disagreements with him.
Hatch stated that he wouldn't seek re-election for 2018 and said, "Every good fighter knows when it is time to put the gloves down."
Hatch, a former bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved to Utah in early 1970s. He ran for his first public office as a 1976 candidate and narrowly defeated Democratic Senator Frank Moss.
He defeated Ted Wilson, the Democratic mayor in Salt Lake City, by a substantial margin to win a second term.
He was never again seriously challenged.
Orrin Grant Hatch was a 1934 Pittsburgh native, the son of a plaster lather and a carpenter. Elaine Hanson was his wife and he graduated from Brigham Young University, in 1959. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a law degree in 1962 and was a partner at Thomson, Rhodes and Grigsby until 1969. He was later a partner at Hatch & Plumb in Salt Lake City.
Brent, Marcia and Scott are his six children.