Alabama's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, Guy Hunt, has died Friday afternoon in a Birmingham hospital. He was 75.
Family spokesman Mark McDaniel said Hunt passed away at Trinity Medical Center at 2:55 p.m. He had battled lung cancer since 2004 and had never recovered from gall bladder surgery he had in late November.
Hunt was a farmer and Primitive Baptist preacher when he was elected governor in 1986 amid an internal battle in the Democratic Party. He was re-elected in 1990, but he was removed from office in 1993 due to an ethics conviction, the first Alabama governor removed by a criminal conviction.
Hunt later got a pardon from the state parole board, but he was never able to restart his political career. He made unsuccessful races for governor and state Senate.
McDaniel said that despite Hunt's history-making political career, his greatest honor in life was having the privilege of preaching for more than 50 years.
As governor, Hunt was able to appoint hundreds of Republicans to state boards and commissions and fill vacancies in state and county offices with Republicans.
By the time he left office, the Republican Party had started winning other statewide offices and Alabama had become a two-party state after a century of Democratic dominance.