Former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown Jr. dies at 88

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — Former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown Jr. has died, his daughter said Tuesday. He was 88.

According to the National Governors Association, Brown served as the 55th governor from 1979-83. While governor, he reduced the budget by 22 percent and brought record commerce to the state.

Brown was born in Lexington in 1933, graduated from the University of Kentucky and served in the Army Reserve.

He first made his mark in the restaurant franchise industry in the 1960s with Kentucky Fried Chicken, establishing its reputation before selling in 1971. He was also the owner of two professional basketball teams: the Boston Celtics and the Kentucky Colonels.

His daughter, Pamela Brown, an anchor at CNN, wrote the following on Twitter:

My Dad, John Y. Brown Jr., not only dreamed the impossible dream, he lived it until the very end. We are heartbroken by his passing, but find comfort in what he wrote in one of his final days, “I have never been so happy.” RIP Daddio 💔”

According to current Gov. Andy Beshear, Brown, also a Democrat, “made our commonwealth a better place.”

Flags at all state office buildings are ordered at half-staff until his funeral. Brown will lie in state in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol.

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