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Waukegan Rep. Washington dies of heart attack
By John Patterson | Daily Herald Staff

Eddie Washington


Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/5/2010 10:13 AM | Updated: 6/5/2010 6:10 PM

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Waukegan Democratic state Rep. Eddie Washington died of a heart attack early Saturday, state and local party leaders said.

Washington, 56, a married father of seven, had served in the Illinois General Assembly since 2003, representing the 60th Illinois House District comprised mostly of North Chicago, Waukegan and Park City.

"He tried his utmost to represent the people of his district," said state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan, also the chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party.

Link called Washington a "trailblazer" in local politics.

"He distinguished himself as the first African-American legislator from Lake County," Link said.

Washington was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m. Saturday after he was taken to Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest from a nearby address in Country Club Hills, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Washington's death was from natural causes, so an autopsy was not performed.

Link said Washington was a diabetic who had previous heart problems.

Former state Rep. Kathy Ryg of Vernon Hills said it was sad to lose such a young person who still had an interest in serving the community.

"He has a long track record of activity at multiple levels," she said. "While we didn't always agree, he was always very gracious... and I very much appreciated that."

Gov. Pat Quinn said Washington's death was a shock and described Washington "as a good man with a servant's heart who worked diligently for the people of the 60th District."

More than six months remain on Washington's current two-year term in the Illinois House and he was seeking re-election. Link said at the appropriate time a three-person panel would select someone to finish out Washington's term and be on the ballot in November.

Daily Herald staff writer Bob Susnjara contributed to this report.