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Former New Mexico Gov. Bruce King, a folksy cattle rancher who served more time as governor than anyone else and became an institution in state politics, died Friday. He was 85.
Attorney General Gary King announced his father’s death.
King was a Democrat who served three terms that spanned three decades. He was in office in 1971-74, 1979-82 and 1991-94.
King was with family members at his ranch in Stanley when he died Friday morning. His death comes less than a year after the death of his wife of 61 years.
“None of us in the family thought this day would come so soon after we lost my mom, Alice King, but we are comforted by the thought that Bruce and Alice can be together once again,” Gary King said in a statement released by his office.
King had been ill and was recovering from a heart procedure in September to adjust the pacemaker that was implanted after he had a heart attack in 1997.
Gov. Bill Richardson ordered flags flown at half-staff, saying King’s death “leaves a huge void in our state.”
“Bruce King was an innovative, farsighted governor who knew the state better than any living New Mexican,” Richardson said. “He was as genuine and colorful as his cowboy boots. I can just hear him say ‘mighty fine’ as he shook another hand.”
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