The Illinois Republican Party has confirmed Rich Williamson has died. He passed away Sunday.
The Chicago resident was a long-time leader in the Illinois GOP. He lost a nationally watched campaign against Carol Moseley Braun in 1992. She went on to become the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
Williamson was chairman of the state Republican Party from 1999-2001 and has served as Republican National Committeeman for Illinois since 2010. He served in diplomatic roles under three presidents and authored numerous books and articles.
The cause of death was not immediately known. Illinois Republican Party Chair Jack Dorgan called Williamson a ``true friend'' who loved his family, country and party.