May 17, 2014 12:24 PM by AP
ZACHARY, La. (AP) - Bob Odom, who served seven terms as Louisiana's agriculture commissioner and was a top Democratic powerbroker in his heyday, has died at 78.
Odom's long-time aide, Randal Johnson, said the former commissioner died Saturday morning at a Zachary hospital after having difficulty breathing. Odom had suffered from an array of health problems for several years.
Louisiana's longest-serving agriculture commissioner, Odom was in the job from 1980 until 2008. For years, he was one of Louisiana's most powerful elected officials.
He gave up his bid for an eighth term when he was forced into a runoff amid an ongoing criminal corruption case against him. The case was dismissed in 2009.
Before being elected commissioner, Odom had worked for the agriculture and forestry department since 1960.
Funeral arrangements weren't immediately available Saturday.