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Former Mass. Gov. Paul Cellucci dies at 65 of Lou Gehrig's disease

June 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM   |   Comments

HUDSON, Mass., June 9 (UPI) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Argeo Paul Cellucci has died at his home after battling Lou Gehrig's disease for five years, family friends said. He was 65.

Cellucci, of Hudson, who served as governor from 1997 to 2001, died Saturday in Hudson of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, surrounded by his family, The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram and Gazette reported.

Cellucci served eight years as lieutenant governor, four years as acting governor and governor, and four years as U.S. ambassador to Canada during the George W. Bush administration, the Telegram and Gazette reported.

Cellucci, who never lost an election, was committed to conservative fiscal principles, strong environmental positions and liberal social policies, the Globe said.

"My life was never quite the same when I matched up with Paul Cellucci to have a cup of coffee in 1989," said former Gov. William F. Weld, also a Republican. "It was clear to me that we had a similar political philosophy, and everyone I knew who knew Paul Cellucci absolutely swore by the guy. We agreed to run as a team, and we governed as a team. I don't think people realized quite how important Paul Cellucci was personally to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the 1990s."

Cellucci's body will lie in state at the Massachusetts State House Hall of Flags, where a memorial service is planned for this week in the House chambers.

A church service will be held at St. Michael's Church in Hudson, Cellucci's lifelong home town.

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