Former Kentucky governor and recognized entrepreneur John Y. Brown Jr. has passed away at age 88.
Brown, a Lexington native, was Kentucky’s 55th governor and served from 1979 to 1983.
Prior to his political career, Brown and a group of investors bought Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1964 for $2 million, turning Col. Harland Sanders’ restaurants into a global chain.
Because of his success in business, Brown was inducted into the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2010.
His family confirmed his passing on Tuesday. Brown’s children released the following statement:
“Our Dad, John Y. Brown, Jr., not only dreamed the impossible dream, he lived it until the very end,” the statement said. “His positive attitude and zest for life was unrivaled and allowed him to beat the odds many times over. Every day was an excited adventure for him. He was true Kentucky original who beamed with pride for his home state and its people. He had many prominent accomplishments, but most of all he loved his family with all of his heart, and we in turn loved him with all our hearts. We are heartbroken by his passing, but find comfort in what he wrote in one of his final days, ‘I have never been so happy.'”
Gov. Andy Beshear marked Brown’s passing by saying, “Gov. Brown was a remarkable leader who was committed to serving the people of Kentucky. He made our commonwealth a better place.”