FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Former Kentucky Gov. Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt, a liberal Democrat who oversaw the enactment of the South's first state civil rights law in the 1960s, has died, a spokesman said. He was 78.

Breathitt died late Tuesday at the University of Kentucky Hospital, where he was admitted after collapsing Friday from an abnormal heart rhythm during a dinner speech at the school. He had been in a coma since.

Breathitt was governor from 1963 to 1967, but continued to stay near centers of political power in the decades since. He became the Southern Railway System's general counsel after leaving the governorship, moved to Washington, D.C., as a vice president in 1972 and was the company's top lobbyist for 20 years.