Remembering Bill McBride - FOX 13 News

Remembering Bill McBride

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  • Former Fla. gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride dies

    Former Fla. gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride dies

    Sunday, December 23 2012 6:40 PM EST2012-12-23 23:40:01 GMT
    A former Florida Gubernatorial candidate has died. Bill McBride, a Democrat who ran against and lost to Jeb Bush in 2002, passed away Saturday night while in the company of his family in Mount Airy,
    A former Florida gubernatorial candidate has died. Bill McBride, a Democrat who ran against and lost to Jeb Bush in 2002, passed away Saturday night while in the company of his family in N. Carolina.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Funeral services for former Florida gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride will be held this Friday.

The memorial is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church at 3501 W. San Jose Street in Tampa. It is open to the public.

McBride died of an apparent heart attack over the weekend.

Family and friends are mourning a man they describe as a towering figure who drew people to him.

McBride had never run for office before when he went up against Jeb Bush in 2002, and lost.

"He put his heart and soul in that campaign for Governor. He was worn out," said friend and colleague Jim Davis, a former U.S. Congressman from Tampa. "But he bounced right back and he and Alex were a very powerful team. And she was almost our Governor and still quite a force."

Alex is Alex Sink, who also ran for Governor of Florida in 2010.

But life was about more than just politics for the couple. Both were successful in the private sector. Bill McBride was managing partner at Holland and Knight, where former Congressman Jim Davis now works.

"Bill was fearless. Holland and Knight is now one of the biggest law firms in the county with several successful offices in other parts of the world and he was relentless is pursing the growth plan that led to that," Davis said.

Davis says McBride was a leader in every sense of the word.

He graduated with honors graduate from Army Ranger School.

"He was Marine thick and through, but he was also incredibly gentle. He was a gentle giant and he thought everybody should be treated the same this was a powerful combination," Davis said,

The man with such a big heart had a history of heart trouble. Back in 2003, he collapsed while working out at the Harbor Island Athletic Club.

Friends say he appeared in good health lately and his death came as a surprise..

Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter: "Thoughts and prayers are with Alex and Bill's entire family."

"Bill stayed really active helping lots of people in little ways and he never stopped trying to help people until his last day," Davis said.

Bill McBride was 67 years old.

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