Former Texas Gov. Bill Clements, 94, who in 1979 became the state's first Republican elected governor since Reconstruction, died Sunday after what his family said was a brief stay at a Dallas-area hospital.
Family members said he had been ill for several months and grieving the death of his son, who was shot and killed by a neighbor last year.
Gov. Clements' belief that state government should operate like a big business helped change the face of Texas politics. "Texans and Americans have lost a leader whose leadership, service, and patriotism were unparalleled," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.
Gov. Clements, a Texas oilman, saw his first term in office as a major change in the way the state operated.
"It is the largest business in Texas and yet we run it like it was a soda water shed - or a barbecue stand," he said shortly before turning over the chief executive's job to Democrat Mark White, a lawyer and part-owner of a barbecue firm who upset Gov. Clements' reelection bid in 1982.
Gov. Clements came back four years later to defeat White and served until 1991.