Updated: May 3, 12:58 p.m.Jack Kemp, a one-time star quarterback who represented western New York in the House and later ran as the GOP vice presidential candidate on Bob Dole's 1996 ticket, died at his home in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday. He was 73.Kemp had been battling cancer.Jack Kemp passed away peacefully shortly after 6 o'clock this evening, surrounded by the love of his family and pastor, and believing with Isaiah, 'My strength and my courage is the Lord.' During the treatment of his cancer, Jack expressed his gratitude for the thoughts and prayers of so many friends, a gratitude which the Kemp family shares, his family said in a statement.Kemp, who was also known for his 13-year career as a professional quarterback playing for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, represented a suburban Buffalo district in the House from 1971 to 1989. He was succeeded by Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.).He ran for president in 1988. But after an unsuccessful primary bid he went on to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George H. W. Bush. In 1996, he was thrust back onto the national stage when he was picked as the Republican vice presidential running mate by former Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was one of the first Members to release a statement remembering Kemp. Jack was a leading voice for a strong national defense, civil rights, and any other policy that empowered people, McConnell said. Whether as a quarterback, a Congressman, or a cabinet secretary, his life was defined by vision and by a firm commitment to the service of others.President Barack Obama issued a statement Sunday, saying: Jack Kemp's commitment to public service and his passion for politics influenced not only the direction of his party, but his country. From his tenure as a Buffalo congressman to his ascent in national politics, Jack Kemp was a man who could fiercely advocate his own beliefs and principles while also remembering the lessons he learned years earlier on the football field: that bitter divisiveness between race and class and station only stood in the way of the 'common aim of a team to win.' Michelle and I extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the entire Kemp family.