MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist died at the age of 87, according to the Tennessee Republican Party.

The former 47th Governor of Tennessee passed away peacefully, surrounded by family following a surgery and short illness, said a press release from the Office of the Governor.

After years in the printing and advertising industry in Shelbyville and Memphis, Sundquist was elected into congress. He was on the Ways and Means Committee where he earned his reputation as a staunch fiscal conservative.

He was elected Governor of Tennessee in 1994 and reelected to a second term in 1998.

Congressman Steve Cohen issued a statement on the passing of Sundquist Sunday afternoon. He said that the two had a “very fine” relationship during the former governor’s eight years of service.

“I respected him and developed a friendship, unlike many others with whom I served. We had the ability to find common ground on important issues, such as the public voting on the state lottery, tax benefits that helped with the funding of AutoZone Park, a wildflower program along our interstate highway system, as well as a 70 miles-per-hour interstate speed limit,” said Cohen.

Cohen says that Sundquist was a man of his word who never forgot Memphis. He also says he remembers the former governor as a man of good character and moral rectitude.

While Sundquist served as governor, Tennessee implemented a ground-breaking welfare reform program, comprehensive crime legislation focusing on victims’ rights, and set record levels of economic development.

Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement that he appreciates Sundquist’s support and investments for the University of Memphis, in the Memphis airport which allowed FedEx to expand, and to state routes in Memphis and Shelby County.

He says that his prayers are with the Sundquist family during this difficult time.

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“We are comforted by our faith and friends, and know he is with our Lord and loved ones in heaven,” said former First Lady Martha Sundquist.

Congressman David Kustoff also released a statement on Sunday regarding the passing of Sundquist.

“Over his long and successful career, Don Sundquist has served as a business leader, Member of Congress, and Governor. In public office and out of public office, Don Sundquist cared greatly and profoundly about the people of Tennessee and worked tirelessly for their betterment. He will be deeply missed.”

Details on funeral arrangements for Don Sundquist are not yet available.