Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan has passed away "peacefully at home" after several lengthy illnesses at age 76, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Ryan was the state's attorney general from 1995 to 2003, and was the GOP nominee for governor in 2002; however, he lost to Rod Blagojevich.
Prior to becoming the attorney general, Ryan served 10 years as the DuPage County state's attorney and was in private practice before that.
The Chicago-born native endured a string of personal tragedies and challenges in his life, including the deaths of two of his six children, nearly losing his wife of 54 years to a heart attack, beating back cancer three times, as well as recovering from heart surgery.
Ryan had been accused of being uneven regarding LGBTQ+-related issues. In 2013, Ryan said he does not support same-sex marriages because he believes they undermined traditional families, according to the Daily Journal. Nonetheless, he added that he supported the bill because people shouldn't be barred from jobs or housing based on sexual orientation.
Also, when he ran for governor, many said Ryan took various stances regarding abortion. "A substantial majority of the public supports the concept of notifying parents when a young girl seeks an abortion. It's past due time for Illinois' law to go into effect," said Ryan in an Associated Press candidate questionnaire, according to the State Journal-Register.
In an email that Windy City Times received, LGBTQ-rights activist and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District candidate Rick Garcia said, "I mourn the passing of one of the last decent Republicans in the great state of Illinois.
"Jim Ryan signed a letter with all of the Illinois Constitutional Officers, both Republican and Democrat, in the early '90s urging the Illinois General Assembly to pass a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"LGBTQ Illinois citizens are protected, in part, by his leadership and commitment to fairness and equality for all.
"He saved lives and protected some of our most vulnerable."
Current Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a statement saying Ryan will forever be known for his strength and dedication to service, per The Daily Herald.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in a separate statement, "The news that former Attorney General Jim Ryan has passed is a sad day for Illinois. MK and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Marie, and all of his children and loved ones.
"Jim was a tireless advocate for the people of Illinois, and his legacy will endure long past his life, particularly with the landmark tobacco settlement."