American politician Reubin Askew, who inspired Larry Hagman's character in Primary Colors, has died. He was 85.

The former Florida Governor passed away at the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare centre in the state in the early hours of Thursday (13Mar14) after suffering pneumonia and a stroke in recent months.

The Democrat started his career in politics in 1956 and became Florida Governor in 1971. He put himself forward as a presidential candidate in 1984, but later withdrew and the election was won by incumbent leader Ronald Reagan.

Officials at Harvard University rated Askew one of the country's top 10 governors of the 20th century and he was the inspiration behind the character of Freddy Picker in Joe Klein's political novel Primary Colors. The character was played by Dallas star Hagman in the 1998 film adaptation.