Former U.S. Senator Kay Hagan dies in North Carolina

Tue, Oct 29, 2019

U.S. Politics

Kay Hagan, a 1971 Lakeland High graduate, died in North Carolina of brain inflammation caused by Powassan virus, a rare, tick-borne disease, said Sadie Weiner, her former Senate spokeswoman. She was 66.

LAKELAND — Kay Hagan, a former senator and the niece of the late Lawton Chiles, died Monday morning, nearly three years after being afflicted with a rare, tick-borne disease.

Hagan, 66, spent her childhood in Lakeland, graduating from Lakeland High School in 1971. She was the daughter of former Lakeland mayor Joe P. Ruthven and his first wife, Jeanette Chiles Ruthven.

Her uncle, Lakeland native Lawton Chiles, ranks as one of Florida’s most successful politicians, serving as a U.S. Senator from 1971 to 1989 and as Florida’s governor from 1991 to 1998, when he died in office.

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