Former Illinois Gov. James Thompson, ‘Big Jim,’ dies at 84

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois Gov.  James R. Thompson has died. He was 84. Thompson was known as “Big Jim” during a long career that eventually made him the state’s longest-serving chief executive. His wife, Jayne, told the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times that he died shortly after 8 p.m. Friday at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. The Tribune, citing a police report, reported Thompson had been recovering there for several weeks after suffering heart problems. Thompson was a Republican from Chicago who was first elected in 1976. He served four terms. A moderate, he managed the state through recession years in the 1980s.