Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller dies at 86 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller dies at 86

Zell Miller (Source: Wikipedia) Zell Miller (Source: Wikipedia)
ATLANTA (WTOC) -

Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller has died at the age of 86. He had been battling Parkinson's disease for the past few years.

Miller was inaugurated as the 79th Governor of Georgia on January 14, 1991. He served two terms as governor from 1991 to 1999.

He also served as a Georgia State Senator from 1961-1964, a member of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles from 1973-1975, and then Lieutenant Governor of Georgia from 1975-1991.

Miller is currently the longest serving Lieutenant Governor in Georgia’s history, having served for 16 years. He was later appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2000 by Gov. Roy Barnes.

The Democrat also led the charge for Georgia's lottery-funded HOPE scholarships. More than 1.8 million students have gone to college in Georgia on the HOPE Scholarship, and more than 1.6 million 4-year-old's have begun their education through Georgia's Pre-K Program. 

The Georgia Lottery Corporation released the following statement:

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Miller family during this difficult time.

Gov. Miller’s vision to establish a lottery in Georgia with profits earmarked for specific educational programs has made an indelible mark on our state.

“On behalf of the Georgia Lottery Corporation board, employees, and most importantly, Georgia’s students, we are grateful for Governor Miller’s foresight and leadership. Thanks to him more than 3 million students have benefitted from HOPE and Pre-K,” stated Georgia Lottery President and CEO Gretchen Corbin.

Since the Georgia Lottery’s inception in 1993, $19.3 billion has been raised for education in Georgia, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.8 million students have benefited from lottery-funded HOPE scholarships and grants, and more than 1.6 million 4-year-olds have attended lottery-funded Pre-K.

The legacy of Gov. Miller will live on in the millions of students and their families who have been positively impacted by Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE and Pre-K.

After politics, Miller's health took a downward turn in the late 2000s when he developed shingles and subsequently suffered two falls that resulted in broken a broken back and a collapsed lung.

In 2016, Miller's grandson, Bryan Miller, started the Miller Institute Foundation as a way to preserve and promote Zell's legacy. By October 2017, Miller had officially retired from public life and was undergoing treatment for Parkinson's disease.

Miller's grandson, Bryan Miller, says the former senator and governor died peacefully surrounded by his family. A spokeswoman for the Miller Institute Foundation says he died Friday morning.

Congressman Buddy Carter released the following statement in response to the news of Miller's passing:

Today I join my fellow Georgians in mourning the loss of an incredible man, former Senator and Governor Zell Miller. Zell was a tremendous leader for our state and a personal mentor to me. We shared a love for Young Harris College and community service. I am so grateful for the wisdom he has bestowed upon me. Amy and I send our prayers to the Miller family. I truly admired Zell and he will be sorely missed.

For more on Zell Miller's legacy and to learn more about the Miller Institute Foundation, click here.

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