Six days after he was badly injured in a fall in his son's San Diego home, former territorial Gov. Mike Stepovich died Friday, Feb. 14, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Stepovich was born in Fairbanks in 1919 and became the territory's youngest governor, as well as the first born-and-raised Alaskan to serve in the post, when he was appointed to the position by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957. Stepovich served in the position for a year, resigning to take on a Senate run. He lost narrowly to Ernest Gruening and went on to practice law in Fairbanks.
In a release, Sen. Lisa Murkowski paid her respects to Stepovich, saying: "Mike played a vital role in Alaska's admission to statehood, and for the 54 years that followed he occupied a prominent place on the public policy scene. Today we have lost another link to Alaska's territorial history and that leaves a huge hole in my heart."
On Jan. 19, 1958, Stepovich appeared on the game show "What's My Line?" as part of his campaign for Alaska statehood.