Former Indiana first lady Susan Bayh dies at 61 from cancer

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INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indiana first lady Susan Bayh, an attorney and wife of former Gov. Evan Bayh, died at age 61 after years of surgeries and treatments for brain cancer, her family announced Saturday.

Susan Bayh died Friday night in McLean, Virginia, a family spokesman said. She was Indiana’s first lady for eight years after her husband, a Democrat, won election to the first of two terms as governor in 1988.

Evan Bayh served as both Indiana’s governor and a U.S. senator during his political career. The Bayhs have twin sons, Beau and Nick, who were born in 1995 while their father was governor.

Susan Bayh first underwent brain surgery in 2015 to remove a benign tumour , but she later had multiple surgeries and radiation and immunotherapy treatments after a malignant glioblastoma was discovered in May 2018. That is the same type of aggressive brain cancer that killed Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Susan Bayh told reporters in 2019 that she was grateful for support she received during her health troubles.

“I think I’ve gotten probably more prayer letters from Indiana than anywhere,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter what religion it is, just as long as people are praying and keeping me up in somebody’s thoughts.”

Bayh grew up in California and met Evan Bayh while both were working in Washington in the early 1980s. They married in 1985 as he was following his father, former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, into Indiana politics, leading to his 1988 election age 32 to become the nation’s youngest governor. Birch Bayh died in 2019.

Susan Bayh was an attorney who drew some criticism for her membership on several corporate boards while her husband held elected offices.

The Bayhs had lived in Washington since Evan Bayh was elected to the Senate in 1998. He didn’t seek election to a third Senate term in 2010. He launched an unexpected comeback bid in 2016 for the Senate but lost to Republican Todd Young.

The Associated Press