Former Gov. of Louisiana Edwin Edwards, who dominated the state’s politics before going to prison, died at the age of 93.
The former governor died Monday morning near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, surrounded by his close family and friends, including his wife Trina and son Eli, WBRZ-TV reported.
“I have lived a good life, had better breaks than most, had some bad breaks, too, but that’s all part of it. I tried to help as many people as I could and I hope I did that, and I hope, if I did, that they will help others, too. I love Louisiana and I always will,” Edwards said in his final words, according to a statement provided to the press.
Few people have made such an indelible mark on our state as Governor Edwin Edwards. At just 17, he joined the Navy during World War II, beginning a lifetime of service to his state and country. https://t.co/6TwgpHcJa2. #lagov pic.twitter.com/TvEH3pHYbQ
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) July 12, 2021
Edwards placed himself into a hospice care July 5 following lung problems. “Since I have been in and out of hospitals in recent years with pneumonia and other respiratory problems, causing a lot of people a lot of trouble, I have decided to retain the services of qualified hospice doctors and nurses at my home,” he announced.
His widow, Trina Scott Edwards, said in a statement, “He was so optimistic all the time. Nothing bothered him except bothering other people. It’s heartbreaking for me because I know he so wanted to make Eli’s 8th birthday party August 1.” The couple got married 2011 and their son was born in 2013. It was Edwards’ fifth child.
Louisiana’s current governor, John Bel Edwards, released a statement saying, “Edwin was a larger than life figure known for his wit and charm. Our state has lost a giant, and we will miss him dearly. Donna and I send our deepest condolences to his wife, Trina, family and all who were blessed to call him a friend and ask everyone to join us in praying for God to comfort them during this difficult time.” He also ordered flags to be flown half-staff through the day of his burial. (RELATED: First Democratic State Will End Its Unemployment Benefits)
Edwin Edwards was born August 7, 1927, in Marksville, Louisiana, and was first elected governor in 1972 after serving in both the state Senate and as a congressman. Edwards, a lifelong Democrat, eventually managed to serve four terms in office as a governor, serving a total of 16 years. His last term ended in 1996.
In 2001, Edwards was found guilty and convicted of federal racketeering and corruption charges involving payoffs for riverboat casino licenses. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $250,000. After his release in 2011, he married Trina Grimes, then 32, who used to visit him while in prison, according to The Associated Press.
In one of his last political acts, Edwards unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014 but was defeated by Republican Garret Graves.