Former Wisconsin Gov. Tony Earl suffered a stroke this week and is now receiving palliative care, his oldest daughter Julia Earl said Tuesday.
Earl, 86, is a Democrat, who served one term as governor from 1983 to 1987. He was a champion of gay rights and a staunch environmentalist.
Earl was defeated in 1986 by Republican Tommy Thompson. Earl’s political career ended after he lost a Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate in 1988 to Herb Kohl, but he went on to become a leading advocate for campaign and election finance reforms and a champion of environmental causes.
“Our dad is surrounded by loved ones,” Julia Earl said in a text message to The Associated Press. “He is receiving palliative care and is at peace and painfree. We appreciate the genuine support and love shared by family and friends.”
Current Gov. Tony Evers, during a stop Monday in Eau Claire, said that Earl was “seriously ill” and “we’re praying for him.”
“He’s an extraordinary human being and did a great job as governor and a good leader of the state of Wisconsin,” WEAU-TV reported Evers as saying about Earl. “I saw him maybe a year ago now and he was in good spirits.”
Earl is one of six living former Wisconsin governors. In addition to Thompson, the others are Scott Walker, Jim Doyle, Scott McCallum and Martin Schreiber.