Wife of jailed former Illinois Governor George Ryan dies

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 28, 2011 12:04 PM
Wife of jailed former Illinois Governor George Ryan dies

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Lura Lynn Ryan, the wife of jailed former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, has died at age 76, officials said Tuesday.

Mrs. Ryan had been on a ventilator at a hospital in Kankakee when she died Monday night at 10:40 p.m. local time, according to Kankakee County Coroner Robert Gessner. She had suffered from lung cancer.

George Ryan is serving a 6-1/2 year sentence in federal prison on corruption charges. A federal judge in December denied his request to be released from prison so that he could attend to his ailing wife.

George Ryan, a Republican, had been nominated several times for a Nobel Peace Prize because of his opposition to the death penalty. He imposed a moratorium on executions in Illinois after 13 death row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted. Illinois has since abolished the death penalty.

Ryan was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, fraud and other offenses involving favoritism and kickbacks for state contracts and property leases.

The scandals paved the way for Democrats to regain the Illinois governor's seat for the first time in a quarter century with Rod Blagojevich's election in 2002. Blagojevich was convicted Monday on 17 of 20 charges of corruption.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski, Editing by Greg McCune).