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Alaska Bids Former Senator Ted Stevens Farewell

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Mourners in Alaska are saying their final farewell Wednesday to Ted Stevens, who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 40 years and was killed last week in a plane crash.

Vice President Joe Biden is among those expected to speak at the service for the former senator in Anchorage.  

Those who served with Stevens in Congress are also expected to attend, along with current and former state officials, including ex-Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The 86-year-old Stevens was the Senate's longest serving Republican, representing Alaska for four decades until his defeat in 2008.  

He and four others were killed after their small plane crashed in a remote area in Alaska on August 9.  Four people survived, including former NASA chief Sean O'Keefe.

Weather has not been ruled out as a factor in the crash.  Rain, wind and overcast skies were reported in the area at the time.

On Monday, a Roman Catholic Mass was held in honor of Stevens at a cathedral in Anchorage.  Tuesday, a viewing of the body was held at an Episcopal church, followed by a procession to move the body to Anchorage Baptist Temple for Wednesday's service.

Stevens was defeated in his reelection bid in 2008 following his conviction for failing to report corporate gifts.  The conviction was later overturned because of misconduct by federal prosecutors.

In 1978, Stevens was a passenger in a plane that crashed at the Anchorage airport that killed his first wife, Ann.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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