Obit John Y Brown
FILE – Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown appears before a House Ways and Means subcommittee in Washington on Friday, April 3, 1981. Brown Jr., who became Kentucky’s governor after building empires in business and sports, has died, his family said in a release Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. He was 88. (WHD Photo/ John Duricka, File) John Duricka/WHD

Former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown dead at 88

Jack Birle

November 22, 10:01 PM November 22, 10:02 PM

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Former Democratic Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. died Tuesday at the age of 88.

Brown served from 1979 until 1983 as governor of the Bluegrass State, but he was also known for his role in popularizing the fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.


In 1964, Brown co-purchased KFC from Harland Sanders and transformed the restaurant into a global brand, with the chain becoming the largest fast-food chain in the world for a short time.

CNN journalist Pamela Brown, who is the daughter of the former governor, said she is “heartbroken by his passing” in a tweet Tuesday.

“My Dad, John Y. Brown Jr., not only dreamed the impossible dream, he lived it until the very end. We are heartbroken by his passing, but find comfort in what he wrote in one of his final days, ‘I have never been so happy.’ RIP Daddio,” Brown tweeted.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) called Brown a “remarkable leader who was committed to serving the people of Kentucky.”


Brown will lie in state at the Kentucky Capitol rotunda, with visitation open to the public on Nov. 29 and a service scheduled for 3 p.m. local time on Nov. 30, per CNN.

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