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Music Advocate, Songwriter, and Former Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Dies at 88

Music Advocate, Songwriter, and Former Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Dies at 88

Orrin Hatch (US Senate Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
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SALT LAKE CITY (CelebrityAccess) – Former Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch passed away Saturday (April 23) surrounded by family, according to a statement from the Hatch Foundation. He was 88.

He was the longest-serving senator in Utah history when he retired after 42 years. During those 42 years in office, he helped spearhead a bill that would change the way songwriters in the music industry are paid. Hatch, alongside Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, co-sponsored a bill called the Music Modernization Act, which would overhaul music copyright and bring it to the digital age. Hatch, a songwriter, said in 2018 that the bill is a “historic reform for our badly outdated music laws.”

Before the bill was passed, the Senate renamed the bill “Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act (MMA),” honoring the Senator. The bill received the President’s signature in October 2018, with Hatch standing alongside musician Kid Rock, singer Sam Moore and the Beach Boys’ Mike Love.

Hatch, who reportedly has written over 300 songs, often with patriotic or religious themes, penned a love song for the late Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife, Vickie, titled “Souls Along the Way,” as reported by DeseretNews. A lullaby Hatch penned called “Little Angel of Mine” was used in the animation movie Stuart Little 2. Hatch is also a trained pianist and has self-released approximately 12 albums. Gladys Knight has covered his songs, and the New York Times reported he brought in more than $39,000 in royalty earnings for the year 2005.

State and Federal officials took to social media in tribute.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox: “Abby and I are so grateful for the opportunities we had to spend time with this incredible public servant. He was always so kind and generous with his time and wisdom. Utah mourns with the Hatch family.”

Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert: “He was a great man and a great Senator who represented Utah and America extremely well for 42 years. He was one of the great ones. He will be missed.”

Former US Representative Ben McAdams: “When people talk about healing and divide in our country, they talk about Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy, how they disagreed, remained friends, and found solutions.”

Hatch is survived by his wife Elaine and six children.


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