By Dana Getz
Updated August 16, 2016 at 09:07 PM EDT
Credit: Courtesy of WTTW National Productions

John McLaughlin, the longtime host of PBS’ The McLaughlin Group, died Tuesday at 89.

The PBS show confirmed the news via its official Facebook page. “Earlier this morning, a beloved friend and mentor, Dr. John McLaughlin, passed away peacefully at the age of 89,” reads the post. “As a former jesuit priest, teacher, pundit and news host, John touched many lives. For 34 years, The McLaughlin Group informed millions of Americans. Now he has said bye bye for the last time, to rejoin his beloved dog, Oliver, in heaven. He will always be remembered.”

McLaughlin led the political commentary series for over 30 years, moderating the program since its debut in 1982. He was absent from last Friday’s episode, writing that he was “under the weather” in a note that preceded the show.

“The final issue of this episode has my voice, but please forgive me for its weaker than usual quality,” he explained. “Yet my spirit is strong and my dedication to the show remains absolute!”

Before beginning his broadcast career, McLaughlin was ordained as a priest. He spent several years as a high school teacher at a Jesuit prep school in Connecticut, later becoming a writer and editor for Jesuit current affairs publication America. He also ran for a seat in the 1970 United States Senate, wrote speeches for President Richard Nixon, and authored a monthly political column for National Review. He hosted various shows during his time on The McLaughlin Group, including PBS’ John McLaughlin’s One on One, CNBC’s McLaughlin, and MSNBC’s McLaughlin Special Report.

Memorial service details will be announced on The McLaughlin Group‘s Facebook page. View the statement below.