Washington (CNN) -- West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, the self-educated son of a coal miner who became the longest-serving member of Congress, died early Monday at age 92, the senator's office said.
Byrd, a nine-term Democrat, was known as a master of the chamber's often-arcane rules and as the self-proclaimed "champion of the Constitution," a jealous guardian of congressional power.
His speeches were laced with references to poetry and the Greek and Roman classics, often punctuated by the brandishing of his pocket copy of the national charter.
He was also known as the "King of Pork," using top positions on the Senate Appropriations Committee to steer federal spending to his home state -- one of the nation's poorest.
Byrd relished the title.
"Pork, to the critic, is service to the people who enjoy some of the good things in life, and I've been happy to bring to West Virginia the projects to which they refer. I have no apology for it," he said.
My condolences to his family.