Rod Grams in hospice care - KMSP-TV

Rod Grams, former senator and KMSP anchor, in hospice

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Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams has entered hospice care following a cancer diagnosis in April 2012.

Kent Kaiser, a longtime GOP activist and spokesman for the Grams family, confirmed Grams is in hospice at his home in the town of Crown, Minn., on Wednesday. Since then, Grams told FOX 9 News he has heard the prayers throughout Minnesota.

Grams explained that he was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago, but it metastasized into an aggressive form of liver cancer and the chemotherapy simply stopped working. Even so, he's always been a man who is extraordinarily comfortable in his own skin and he explained that he is ready for what is ahead of him.

"The decision became evident, as far as my faith and where I'm going from here," Grams said by phone. "I always feel my last breath here is my first breath in heaven, and I'm very comfortable with that."

In so many ways, 65-year-old Grams is old school. The single-term U.S. senator who served from 1995 to 2001 who lost his re-election bid to now-Gov. Mark Dayton never made politics personal.

"He got along with everyone across the political spectrum," Kaiser said.

After sitting as lead anchorman for KMS-TV for more than a decade and keeping his politics to himself, he was elected to serve one term in the U.S. House of Representatives -- a move that came as a surprise to his co-anchor, Heather Harden.

"None of us knew his politics when we worked with him," she said. "That's how private he was."

Although Grams left the Senate after he election against Dayton, he never left the game completely. In fact, he worked behind the scenes to advise Republican candidates and even attempted a few comebacks. In recent years, he ran three small radio stations in Little Falls, even hosting his own program.

Now, the days he has are certainly a bit more precious. Grams has been spending at his family homestead with his wife, Chris, by his side.

"Just a couple of weeks ago, took a group of students there for a barbeque, shooting guns and [he was] right there with us," Kaiser said.

Right there with us sounds like the sort of campaign slogan Grams would love, and he said one of the best things about being Minnesotan is that although people may disagree with you, they're always respectful.

"I appreciate the people of Minnesota," Grams said.

Kaiser said Grams is upbeat, can still get around by himself and has been visiting with many family members and friends. Grams also said he hopes to make it out to the Dairy Queen one last time.


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