FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - State Sen. Wendy Davis said early Thursday morning that her ailing father had died. Jerry Russell had been in the hospital due to complications from abdominal surgery. The Fort Worth politician had stepped away from the spotlight to care for her dad during this difficult time.
"I am heartbroken to report that my father, Jerry Russell, passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning," Davis told followers on Facebook. "He was surrounded by his children and his wife, our stepmom, Suzi. During his time in the hospital, there was never a moment that one of us wasn't by his side. We, and the community, will forever be grateful for the significant impact he made on our lives. He and his warm, sparkling brown eyes will be deeply missed. My family and I thank you for surrounding us with your prayers and comfort during this time."
Russell was the founder of the Fort Worth theater company Stage West. He was 77 years old.
Davis shot to national fame after a successful filibuster of a late-term abortion bill this past June in Austin. That move had many Democrats calling for Davis to consider a push for the Texas Govenor's office in 2014. Davis told supporters that she would announce a decision about her political future in mid-August, but that decision was delayed so that she could help care for her father at a Fort Worth hospital.
Davis had last said that her announcement would come shortly after Labor Day, and she wanted her father to be by her side.