Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Public safety

Katherine Harris' husband found dead in apparent suicide

The husband of former U.S. Rep. and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris was found dead in the couple's Sarasota home Tuesday in an apparent suicide.

Sarasota police spokeswoman Genevieve Judge said officers responded to a call between 7:30 and 8 a.m. at the couple's home, where Judge said they found the body of Sven Anders Ebbeson.

"Mr. Ebbeson was recently suffering from an illness, but it is unknown if that is why he took his own life. The family is asking for privacy, prayers, thoughts and love from the community," said the family's pastor, William Hild.

"Mrs. Harris wanted the community, her family and friends to know that her husband is no longer suffering," Sarasota police Chief Bernadette DiPino said.

Ebbeson, 68, was a Swedish businessman who took over his family's business, sold it to Electrolux and started his own appliance distribution company. Harris, 56, met Ebbeson in Sarasota in 1996 and the two were married that year. Harris' longtime communications director, Adam Goodman, said he was a stabilizing force in Harris' life. "Anders was a person who brought class and character into the turbulence of politics and public service," Goodman said.

When they married, Harris was a state senator, but in 1998 she was elected Florida secretary of state. Harris, a Republican, was intensely scrutinized during the 2000 presidential election when she certified George W. Bush's popular vote in Florida despite allegations that the voting process was flawed.

Goodman said Harris relied on Ebbeson when things were most difficult. "It was one of those relationships you look to and think 'Gosh those two are great together,' " Goodman said.

In 2002, Harris was elected to the U.S. House, and in 2006 unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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