Florida First Lady Rhea Chiles dies at age 84

Florida First Lady Rhea Chiles dies at age 84
Posted at 9:35 PM, Nov 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-08 21:35:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A former aide says Rhea Chiles, the widow of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, has died.

The Chiles family put out a statement stating that Rhea Chiles died Sunday afternoon. It says the 84-year-old Chiles died at her home on Anna Maria Island, surrounded by family members.

Then-Gov. Lawton Chiles died unexpectedly in 1998 of heart disease, a few weeks before his second term as governor was to end. Chiles served three terms in the U.S. Senate before he became governor.

Rhea Chiles accompanied Lawton Chiles during his entire 40-year political career.

She pushed for the creation of the Florida House in Washington D.C. which serves as a "state embassy" for Floridians. Rhea Chiles also founded the Lawton Chiles Foundation, which provides support and public awareness for children's programs.