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Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco died Sunday afternoon

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LAFAYETTE – Former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco has died.

Blanco had been in the care of hospice for the last few months, WBRZ learned.

A family spokesperson said she died at 2:54 Sunday afternoon in Lafayette. She was 76.

Blanco was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2011, and the disease reappeared during a checkup in 2017. In December 2018, she publicly said there's "no escape" from the incurable cancer that has spread throughout her body.

Legislative pool reporters also say President Bush has called Blanco during the recent news of her deteriorating health. Bush was president when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005. Blanco was serving as governor during the catastrophic storm.

"I'm asking all the people of Louisiana to pray for her and her family," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in an interview with WBRZ earlier this summer. 

Blanco is a devout Catholic and says she's made peace with the disease.

A family statement released Sunday said plans are being finalized for services. 

In a statement, the Blanco family said:

She was a woman of grace, faith and hope. She has left an eternal mark on all who knew her, because she was generous and unconditional in her love, warm in her embrace and genuinely interested in the welfare of others.

While she knew that her name would forever be linked with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it was her dying wish that she be remembered for her faith in God, commitment to family and love of Louisiana.

As Louisiana's first female governor, her prestigious career cannot be separated from her faith and family - all are intertwined. In her words, her public service provided an opportunity for her “to be the voice of the voiceless; to shape the rising tide that lifts all boats; to advocate for policies and changes that make good common sense; and to have a positive impact on the lives of all people.


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