The Associated Press is reporting that longtime Democratic Mississippi State Senator Bennie Turner has died. The West Point native was 64.
Turner was a lawyer and has been called a champion of public education.
Turner passed away at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after suffering an “illness.” The Northeast Daily Journal in Tupelo reported that Turner was suffering from a brain tumor.
Turner was elected to the senate in 1992. He served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. His district encompassed Clay County and part of Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he was saddened by Turner's death.
"I had the opportunity to work closely with him during my time in the Legislature, and I know the people of his district will miss him," Bryant said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican who presides over the senate, said in a statement that "Turner fought for fairness and justice for all Mississippians."
Turner had a law practice, Turner and Associates, and previously served as county prosecutor for Clay County.
He also was past president of the Clay County Bar Association and the Magnolia Bar Foundation Inc., and had served on the state Board of Bar Admissions, according to the law firm's website.
Turner is survived by his wife, Edna, and three daughters. Funeral arrangements were unknown.