Former Mississippi Speaker of the House Tim Ford, a Lee County native who served 16 years as one of the state’s most powerful political figures, died Friday night.

Ford, 63, a Jackson resident and attorney, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack at a home he owned in Oxford, where he and his wife had come to spend the weekend, several sources confirmed.

Ford was first elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives from Lee County in 1980, when he lived in Baldwyn. He later moved to Tupelo.

He was elected speaker as a compromise candidate among competing factions in 1988 and served in that post until he retired from the Legislature in 2004.

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