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Enron founder Ken Lay dead of heart attack

Written by: Staff
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HOUSTON, July 5 (Reuters) Enron Corp. founder and former Chief Executive Ken Lay, who was convicted in May for his role in the Houston-based company's downfall, died after suffering a heart attack today at his vacation home in Colorado.

''Ken Lay passed away early this morning in Aspen,'' Lay family spokeswoman Kelly Kimberly said statement.

Lay, 64, was awaiting sentencing later this year and was expected to face a decades in prison for his convictions in the Enron collapse.

Lay and former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling were convicted of fraud and conspiracy for hiding the financial ruin at Enron, which tumbled into bankruptcy in December 2001.

Lay, once a confidant of former President George H W Bush and dubbed ''Kenny boy'' by President George W Bush, often appeared fatigued during the four-month trial, but there was no indication that he had suffered any adverse health effects.

Enron started as a quiet pipeline company and under Lay's guidance grew into an international energy powerhouse, but imploded in a wave of accounting scandals.

Pitkin County sheriff's deputies and an ambulance were dispatched to the Lay vacation home early Wednesday morning and transported him to Aspen Valley Hospital. He was pronounced dead there shortly after 0300 hrs local time.

''A coroner's autopsy is pending. There will be no further information or press release from this office, until autopsy results are available later this week,'' the county said in a statement.

REUTERS SHB RK2110

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