John Jay Hooker Jr. | Lawyer and politician, 85

John Jay Hooker Jr., 85, a Nashville political figure who spent his last days fighting to make physician-assisted suicide legal in Tennessee, died Sunday, a family friend said.

Political strategist Tom Ingram said he received a message from one of Mr. Hooker’s daughters that he had died in hospice. He had been suffering from metastatic melanoma.

Mr. Hooker had brilliant successes early in life as a lawyer. Tapped in 1958 to prosecute the impeachment of a Chattanooga judge accused of accepting bribes from racketeers, he fell into the orbit of Robert Kennedy, who was investigating the Teamsters union. Mr. Hooker later worked as special counsel to Kennedy after he became U.S. attorney general, even living in Kennedy’s house for a time.

Mr. Hooker was one of the original investors in Hospital Corporation of America, a chairman of STP Corp., part-owner and publisher of the Nashville Banner, and briefly chairman of wire service United Press International.


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