(WAFF) - Born in Sheffield, Fred Thompson's family soon moved to Tennessee. Years later, Thompson enjoyed a career as a Republican senator.
Beyond politics, Thompson's tall stature and authoritative voice made him a perfect fit in the entertainment industry. Over the course of his life, he appeared in at least 20 movies, and a stint on the hallmark NBC crime series "Law & Order."
Thompson died Sunday following a bout with lymphoma, according to family in a statement.
Thompson called Tennessee home, but he was born and went to school in North Alabama.
Thompson's family moved to Tennessee soon after his birth in Colbert County, but he returned to the area for the early part of his collegiate career.
Thompson's ties to the area are documented by the historian at the Sheffield Public Library and recalled by the Alumni Association at the University of North Alabama.
Thompson was born at Colbert County Hospital in Sheffield in 1942. His family lived in the Colbert Heights community until he was six months old, then moved to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Thompson began his college education at Florence State University, which is now UNA.
Lauderdale County License Commissioner and UNA Alumnus William Smith met Thompson and was an Alabama delegate for Thompson at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
He said Thompson, who was 6'6" tall with a booming voice, was a larger than life presence and a man of high integrity.
"Very down to earth, common sense type of approach. A man of the people. Would talk to anybody, from a U.S. senator to anyone off the street. He had a very easy way about him. Very much knew who he was and where he came from," Smith said.
Flags at the Tennessee state capitol and state offices are at half-staff in honor of Thompson.
Shortly after announcing the news online and on social media, many of you wanted to pass on your regards to Fred Thompson and his family.
From the dozens of messages on our Facebook post about his passing, many regarded his political career highly, while others noted favorite roles, from that of DA Arthur Branch on "Law & Order," and his roles in movies such as "The Hunt for Red October" and "Die Hard II," among others.
The following are just a few of the messages you left.
Sad news. He was one of the great character actors of our time. I was so happy he went back to acting after retiring from public service. He'll be missed. - Tifany B.
He was an amazing man. We need more like him. Praying for the family. - Tamara M.
RIP, many fond memories. Thoughts and prayers to all you have touched... -Crissy S.
...A tremendously talented actor. - Susan R.
I hate to hear this. I enjoyed him as an actor and politician. - Paula G.
Rest in peace, sir and may the Lord bring your family comfort. - Denise E.
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