MIAMI (AP) - Tampa attorney Bill McBride, who came out of nowhere to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2002 but lost to then-Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, has died at the age of 67.
His wife Alex Sink said Sunday that McBride suffered a fatal heart attack Saturday while visiting with family in Mount Airy, N.C. Sink was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, losing to now-Gov. Rick Scott. The couple made their home outside of Tampa.
Sink said McBride had suffered from heart problems for years.
"Bill McBride was larger than life," saidSen. Bill Nelson."He was one of the great business, legal and political leaders of Florida, and he is a friend that many of us will miss."
Florida Governor Rick Scott also released a statement about McBride's passing:
"Bill McBride was a great lawyer, a devoted public servant, a veteran and a talented leader. Our family's thoughts and prayers are with the McBride family, and especially his wife Alex, at this time of great loss. Florida is no doubt a better place because people like Bill McBride commit themselves to making a difference in the lives of others."
McBride defeated former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in the Democratic primary to run against Bush. Before entering politics, he was managing partner at the prestigious Holland & Knight law firm.
Sink said McBride's true legacy is as a longtime civil rights champion.