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His wife, Alex Sink, said Mr. McBride suffered a fatal heart attack Saturday while visiting with family in Mount Airy, N.C. Ms. Sink was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, losing to now-Gov. Rick Scott. The couple lived outside of Tampa.

Ms. Sink said Mr. McBride, an attorney, had long suffered from heart problems.

Mr. McBride defeated Ms. Reno, who was U.S. attorney general under President Clinton, in the Democratic primary to run against Mr. Bush. Before entering politics, he was managing partner at the prestigious Holland & Knight law firm.

Ms. Sink said Mr. McBride’s true legacy was as a longtime civil rights champion.

From wire dispatches and staff reports