FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Attorney Ray Hutchison, a former legislator, gubernatorial candidate and the husband of former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has died. He was 81.

Michelle McCormick, spokeswoman for the Houston-based law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, confirmed that Hutchison died Sunday. A family spokeswoman, Lindsey Parham, says he died at a Dallas hospital of heart complications.

The firm also released the following statement:

For more than 50 years Hutchison served as counsel to state and local governments and was regarded as a leading bond lawyer in the state of Texas, who worked on many of the most significant development projects in North Texas during this period.

“Ray was involved in virtually every major government development project in North Texas over the past five decades,” said Ben Brooks, head of Bracewell’s public finance practice and longtime friend of Hutchison.

Hutchison was key to the development of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, as well as numerous professional sports facilities built in North Texas during his career. He also led the negotiations to move the Washington Senators to Arlington to become the Texas Rangers and worked on the complex issues faced with building their stadium.

Condolences are pouring in from across the state.  Attorney General Greg Abbott issued the following statement:

“Ray Hutchison was a tremendous champion and defender of conservative values. From serving our great state in the Texas House of Representatives to his work as a chairman of the Texas Republican Party, Ray impressed upon so many others what it means to be a leader. I have been honored to know and work with Ray throughout my career, and greatly mourn his loss. Cecilia and I send our deepest condolences to the Hutchison family.”

Gov. Rick Perry issued this statement:

“This weekend, we lost an extraordinary Texan in Ray Hutchison. From his commitment to developing the North Dallas community, to his service in the U.S. Navy and Texas Legislature, to his instrumental role in the creation of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Ray was a leader in every aspect of his life, and his contributions to the state of Texas will positively impact countless Texans for generations to come. Ray was a true public servant, a devoted husband and a loving father. Anita joins me in sending our prayers and deepest condolences to his wife, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, his children, and the rest of Ray’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

County Judge Clay Jenkins also released a statement on the passing of Ray Hutchison:

“Ray Hutchison was a visionary and strong leader. He was my friend and co-counsel before I was County Judge and remained a great friend and trusted advisor after my election. Ray and I were from different political parties, but that was never an issue. Ray approached every challenge with grace, wisdom, and a desire to do the right thing.”

Hutchison was a chairman in the 1970s of the Texas Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully in the 1978 GOP primary for governor.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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