- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A family friend says larger-than-life Nashville political figure John Jay Hooker Jr., who spent his last days fighting to make physician-assisted suicide legal in Tennessee, has died at 85.

Political strategist Tom Ingram says he received a message from one of Hooker’s daughters that Hooker died Sunday morning in hospice. He had been suffering from metastatic melanoma.

Hooker was the Democratic party’s nominee for governor in the 1970 and 1998 races. Many people in Nashville remember him for the spectacular success and sudden failure of his Minnie Pearl’s Fried Chicken franchise.

He worked as special counsel to former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, was one of the original investors in Hospital Corporation of America, a chairman of STP Corp. and briefly chairman of wire service United Press International.

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