NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist died early Sunday morning following surgery and a short illness. He was 87. 

Sundquist was born in Moline, Illinois in 1936 and spent years in the printing and advertising industry in Shelbyville and Memphis before being elected to Congress. 

He served six terms in Congress, where he later earned the reputation as a staunch fiscal conservative.

Sundquist was elected as Tennessee’s governor in 1994 and was re-elected for a second term in 1998.

Under his leadership Tennessee was able to set record levels of economic development, establish a ground-breaking welfare reform program and implement comprehensive crime laws that focused on victims’ rights. 

During his tenure as governor, two national sport franchises were brought to the state: the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators. 

Former First Lady Martha Sundquist released a brief statement regarding her husband’s death on Sunday.

“We are comforted by our faith and friends, and know he is with our Lord and loved ones in heaven,” said the former first lady.

Several lawmakers expressed their condolences to the Sundquist family on Sunday following news of the former governor’s death.

“Governor Sundquist was an impactful leader and principled statesman who devoted his life to public service.” “As Tennessee’s governor for two terms, he contributed to our state’s legacy of fiscal responsibility and expanded opportunity for Tennesseans through historic economic development. Maria and I join all Tennesseans in honoring Governor Sundquist’s remarkable life, and we pray God’s comfort over Martha and their family in the days ahead.” 

Governor Bill Lee

Chuck and I are saddened to hear of former Gov. Don Sundquist’s passing. He was a good man, who served our country and state faithfully in the U.S. Navy, as Congressman, and as Governor. We join Tennesseans in prayer for his wife Martha, 3 children, and grandchildren. 

Sen. Marsha Blackburn

Don Sundquist was a loyal friend and a man with a good heart. He helped our state prosper & expanded health insurance for Tennesseans. He put the state ahead of his own political interests. The Alexander family sends to Martha & their family our sympathy & respect for Don’s life.

Former Sen. Lamar Alexander

Sundquist is survived by former First Lady Martha Sundquist, his wife of 64 years, and their children: Andrea, Tania (David), and Deke; and beloved granddaughters: Gabby (Markos), and Alex. 

Funeral arrangements have not been released at this time.