Booth Gardner has died.
Gardner died Friday at his Tacoma home, family spokesman Ron Dotzauer said Saturday. He was the state’s 19th governor.
“We’re very sad to lose my father, who had been struggling with a difficult disease for many years, but we are relieved to know that he’s at rest now and his fight is done,” said Gail Gant, Gardner’s daughter, in a statement.
The millionaire heir to the Weyerhaeuser timber fortune led the state from 1985 to 1993 following terms as Pierce County executive, state senator and business school dean.
Since then, he had worked as a U.S. trade ambassador in Geneva, in youth sports and for a variety of philanthropic works. But his biggest political effort in his later years was his successful “Death with Dignity” campaign in 2008 that ultimately led to the passage of the controversial law that mirrored a law that had been in place in Oregon since 1997.
The law allows terminally ill adults with six months or less left to live to request a legal dose of medication from their doctors.
Gardner knew that he wouldn’t qualify to use the law because Parkinson’s disease, while incurable, is not fatal. But at the time, he said his worsening condition made him an advocate for those who want control over how they die.
“It’s amazing to me how much this can help people get peace of mind,” Gardner told The Associated Press at the time. “There’s more people who would like to have control over their final days than those who don’t.”