The husband of Katherine Harris, a former congresswoman who also served as Florida's Secretary of State, was found dead in the couple's Sarasota home Tuesday morning of an apparent suicide.
Investigators who responded to the home found the body of Anders Ebbeson, 68, a Swedish businessman and Harris' husband of 17 years, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
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"We're asking the community to respect the family at this difficult time. Mrs. Harris wanted the community, her family, and friends to know that her husband is no longer suffering," Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said in a statement.
Officials suspect suicide and those close to the family said Ebbeson was in poor health prior to his death.
"Mr. Ebbeson was recently suffering from an illness, but it is unknown if that is why he took his own life," Pastor William Hild of Sarasota's First Baptist Church said in a statement. "The family is asking for privacy, prayers, thoughts, and love from the community."
Friends of Ebbeson described him as a devoted husband who supported his wife as she climbed the political ranks, first as a member of the state senate in the '90s, then as Florida's secretary of state during the infamous 2000 presidential election recount, and later as a congresswoman form 2003 to 2007.
"It was a sad ending to a life well-lived," Teri Hansen, president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and a close friend to both Ebbeson and Harris, told the Tribune. "He was a generous, kind, and caring man and was Katherine's rock."
Harris, a Republican, retired from politics in 2006 after losing a U.S. Senate race to Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent.
She and Ebbeson met on a blind date in 1996.
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