DENVER (AP) — John A. Love, who went from a political unknown to become Colorado's 36th governor and later the nation's energy czar, died. He was 85.

Love died in Aurora on Monday night after a long illness, his family said.

"John Love epitomized the spirit of Colorado and the West. During his first campaign for governor, he was pictured riding horseback in the Colorado mountains. That was the John Love many Coloradans will remember," said Gov. Bill Owens.

Love, a Republican, became governor by beating Democratic incumbent Steve McNichols in 1962.