Dixon served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993. He also had a long career in state politics, serving in the Illinois House, Illinois Senate and as the state's treasurer and secretary of state.
He lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in 1992 to Carol Moseley Braun. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
The Belleville-born Dixon was an attorney.
His memoir titled "The Gentleman from Illinois" was published in 2013.
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