Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker passed away Wednesday at a veteran’s hospital in California, his son confirmed. Walker was 92 years old.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Northwestern University Law School, Walker gained fame in 1971 for walking more than 1,100 miles across Illinois after announcing his candidacy for governor.
Gov. Jim Thompson said Walker's statewide walk was "an interesting political dimension," calling him "a forerunner to what politicians do now in listening tours.”
Walker served as governor from 1973 to 1977 and lost against Secretary of State Michael Howlett in the 1976 Democratic primary. James R. Thompson went on to become governor.
“I followed him in the governor’s office," Thompson said. "His people, his supporters were supportive.”
Walker was charged with federal bank fraud in 1987 based on two loans made to him at the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation he owned. He pleaded guilty and served 18 months.
After he was released from prison, he moved to the west coast. Later in his life he became an author and penned three books.
Gov. Bruce Rauner expressed his condolences in a statement.
“Diana and I are saddened to learn of the passing of former Governor Dan Walker," Rauner said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”