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His departure to become an ambassador paved the way for his lieutenant governor, Jane Swift, to become the state’s first female chief executive.

Paul’s long record of public service was consistently defined by grace, integrity and common sense, qualities that are all too scarce in modern politics,” Mrs. Swift said in a statement.

In addition to his more serious pursuits, Mr. Cellucci was known as a dedicated film buff. One of his favorite movies was the Coen brothers’ classic “The Big Lebowski.” Mr. Cellucci, who bore a resemblance to Robert De Niro, could also be persuaded to offer up his impersonation of Mr. De Niro’s character from “Taxi Driver.”

The former governor revealed in January 2011 that he had ALS. More than 5,600 people are diagnosed every year.

“I’m leading a normal, private life. I will always be truly grateful for the opportunity to have served 35 years in public service,” he said in a statement to The Associated Press at the time.

Soon after, he helped launch the UMass ALS Champion Fund to support ALS research being led by Dr. Robert Brown.

Dr. Brown said Mr. Cellucci was very interested in the research being done at the school and would remember every nuance of a conversation about it six months later.

“He impressed me as being a man of extraordinary integrity,” Dr. Brown said.

Dr. Collins, the chancellor, said Mr. Cellucci was very proud of the school and did as much as he could on its behalf, even when his energy was sapped.

“His mind was keen throughout his illness, and he worked as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen to help us succeed at this effort,” Dr. Collins said. “It was really pretty extraordinary.”

Secretary of State John F. Kerry, until recently a Massachusetts senator, said the former governor had called the State Department just a few months ago to advocate for a Massachusetts family, which was “quintessential PaulCellucci.”

“He always had time to ask about your family, and always had a twinkle in his eye about the great journey he’d taken from Hudson to the governor’s office and on to representing America in Canada,” Mr. Kerry said. “I can’t help but think of the final high standard Paul set in the way he battled ALS. The twinkle was still there, even from his wheelchair.”

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird called Mr. Cellucci “a great friend to Canada” who served “as the top American diplomat … at critical time of 9/11 and its aftermath.”

“We are grateful for his contributions to the bilateral relationship, both as ambassador and as governor of Massachusetts,” Mr. Baird said.

Mr. Cellucci is survived by his wife, Jan; their daughters, Kate and Anne; and four grandchildren.

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