His condition was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. In 2002, he was the only Senator facing reelection to vote against the congressional authorization for the Iraq War. His wife, Sheila, and daughter, Marcia, also died on board.
As Senator, Wellstone authored the Wellstone Amendment for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. Wellstone's sons, David and Mark, were not on the flight, and now co-chair the Wellstone Action nonprofit organization in honor of their parents. C., the second son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants Leon and Minnie Wellstone.
Wellstone extended his activism to the Minnesota labor movement.
In the summer of 1985, he walked the picket line with striking P-9ers during a labor dispute at the Hormel Meat Packing plant in Austin, Minnesota.
In 2002, Wellstone campaigned for reelection to a third term despite an earlier campaign pledge to serve only two.
Wellstone's upset victory in 1990 and reelection in 1996 were also credited to a grassroots campaign which inspired college students, poor people, and minorities to get involved in politics, many for the first time.
In 1990, the number of young people involved in the campaign was so notable that shortly after the election, Walter Mondale told Wellstone that "the kids won it for you".
In 1999, Wellstone formed an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States in the 2000 election.
After campaigning in the early primary states, he announced he would not seek the presidency because of sustained physical limitations from a college wrestling injury. Senate election, Wellstone died in a plane crash in Eveleth, Minnesota.