State

November 19, 2013

Husband of Katherine Harris, of Fla. recount fame, found dead in apparent suicide

The Harris family said that Anders Ebbeson, 69, was ill and suffering before he took his own life.

The husband of former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris died in what police say is an apparent suicide at the couple’s Sarasota home.

Harris' husband, Anders Ebbeson, 68, was found dead at the home when officers were called Tuesday morning, said Sarasota Police spokeswoman Genevieve Judge.

The Swedish businessman had suffered from health issues in recent years, said Pastor William Hild of Sarasota First Baptist Church. Hild declined to elaborate on those health problems or how Ebbeson killed himself.

Hild asked the press and public to respect the family’s privacy.

“Anders has been suffering health conditions that he’d been attempting to deal with, which had been increasingly part of his life,” Hild told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Harris, a Republican, retired from public life after losing a U.S. Senate race to incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in 2006. At the time, Harris served in the U.S. House of Representatives, a post she won in 2002.

Harris, when she was Florida Secretary of State, attained worldwide fame and notoriety as the face of the disputed 2000 Florida recount that ultimately allowed George W. Bush to become president.

Throughout, Ebbeson was quietly married to the outspoken Harris, a citrus-fortune heiress and descendant of Ben Hill Griffin, whose name graces the University of Florida’s football stadium in Gainesville.

A dozen years older than Harris, Ebbeson was independently wealthy, enjoyed racing cars and had wed Harris in two ceremonies in Port Charlotte and then Paris in 1996 when she was still a state legislator.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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