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Longest-serving Illinois governor, James R. Thompson, dies

Former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson has died, according to reports. He was 84.

Gov. JB Pritzker released the following statement on the passing:

“On behalf of the entire state of Illinois, MK and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Governor Jim Thompson. As the longest-serving governor in Illinois history, ‘Big Jim’ was known to treat people he encountered with kindness and decency. He dedicated himself to building positive change for Illinois, and he set an example for public service of which Illinoisans should be proud. He will be remembered and revered as one of the titans in the history of state government.”

Thompson died Friday  night at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, his wife, Jayne, told the Chicago Tribune. Thompson had been at the facility the past few weeks recovering after suffering heart problems, according to a police report, the Tribune said.

Thompson was the longest-serving governor of the state, in office from 1977 to 1991. Later, he was chairman of law firm Winston & Strawn for 13 years.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement following:

“Today the Illinois Republican Party mourns the loss of a great leader in Illinois’ storied history. Governor ‘Big Jim’ Thompson exemplified a state government that worked, treated others with legendary kindness, and created lasting positive change for Illinois over his 14 years as Governor. He helped send a corrupt Governor to jail as a prosecutor, rebuilt the state’s infrastructure, saved the White Sox, and presided over a healthy and prosperous Illinois. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jayne and his family at this time.”



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