"Alaska has lost one of its greatest statesmen and a true pioneer of our state with the passing of Senator Ted Stevens," said Murkowski's counterpart, Mark Begich, who defeated Stevens in 2008 and who lost his politician father in a plane crash in 1972.
A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama called Stevens' widow, Catherine, on Tuesday afternoon to express his condolences.
"A decorated World War II veteran, Sen. Ted Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform," Obama said in prepared remarks.
Stevens was appointed in December 1968 and became the longest-serving Republican in Senate history. (The late Strom Thurmond was in the Senate longer than Stevens, but he spent a decade there as a Democrat before switching to the GOP.)
"He always kept his word to me and to other senators. In moments of legislative battle, he would come onto the floor wearing his Hulk tie, and he would growl and act like a bulldog. But then he would spot friends on the floor and give a wink and a grin," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.