Kentucky political figure and perennial gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith has died, according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.
Ginn said Galbraith died peacefully in his bed.
A family member told Ginn Galbraith had been sick for about a week. He had congestion and felt weak and tired, he said.
"I think he died sometime early this morning in his bed," he said.
Dea Riley, Galbraith's running mate in the 2011 gubernatorial election, posted the following message on her Facebook page Wednesday morning.
"Dear Friends, I have just been notified that Gatewood passed away last night. I am heading to Lexington to be with his family. Please say a prayer for his family and friends and all those who loved him."
Galbraith, 64, ran unsuccessfully for governor five times. A Lexington criminal defense attorney, Galbraith also has run for agriculture commissioner, U.S. representative and attorney general.
Dea Riley said she last talked to Galbraith on Monday: "He was sick. He had a terrible cold. He said it was the sickest he had ever been in his life."
Riley said Galbraith's daughter Abby Moldt called her this morning and told her that he had died.
He was a heavy smoker of cigarettes and recently told the Herald-Leader he suffered from severe emphysema.
Gatewood was a recognizable figure around Lexington and the state, both because of his imposing height and outspoken views on everything from legalizing marijuana to outlawing mountaintop removal.
His autobiography, "The Last Free Man in America Meets the Synthetic Subversion," described a bucolic childhood in Carlisle where he caught the political bug as a young boy when he saw a July 4 speech by Gov. Bert Combs.
He spent the latter part of his childhood in Lexington, attended the University of Kentucky and UK School of Law. He was married twice and is survived by three adult daughters.
In between campaigns, Galbraith worked independently as a criminal defense attorney, but often quipped, "losing statewide elections doesn't pay worth a damn."
Published in Lexington Herald-Leader from Jan. 5 to Jan. 31, 2012