Former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning dies at age 85
Ex-Sen. Jim Bunning -- official portrait

Former Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) has passed away at age 85, the River City News is reporting.

"Heaven got its #1 starter today. Our lives & the nation are better off because of your love & dedication to family," tweeted David Bunning, the senator's son and a federal judge for the eastern district of Kentucky.

Bunning, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1999 to 2011, had been recovering from a stroke he suffered in 2016.

Prior to serving in the Senate, Bunning represented Kentucky's 4th district for 12 years -- following a career as a pitcher in Major League Baseball that led to his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

During his major league career, Bunning posted a record of 224–184 that included two no-hitters; on July 20, 1958, for the Detroit Tigers and again -- in what would also be a prefect game -- on June 21, 1964 for the Philadelphia Phillies.

On July 27, 2009, Bunning announced he would not run again for his Senate seat in 2010, endorsing his successor, current GOP Senator Rand Paul.