Donald Hines

Advocate file photo by Travis Spradling. Photo shot on 1/7/04. Donald Hines, D-Bunkie, in his home.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Donald "Doc" Hines, a physician who led the Louisiana Senate as president from 2004 to 2008, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 85.

Hines' death was confirmed Wednesday by the state Senate and Gov. John Bel Edwards' office. Details were not released.

A Democrat from Bunkie, Hines served in the Senate from 1993 through 2008. He was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in Winnfield in 2006. There, he was described as "a country doctor of the old school" who championed the needs of the working class and the poor.

Among the highlights of his tenure was his chairmanship of a state task force that created the Louisiana Children's Health Insurance Program.

"During his tenure in the Senate, Doc worked tirelessly for the people of Louisiana and was an inspiration to those of us who served with him," current Senate President John A. Alario Jr. said in a news release.

Funeral services are scheduled Thursday at Haas Auditorium in Bunkie. Edwards was expected to attend.

"From his time as a country doctor to his days as Senate President, Doc Hines put the people of Louisiana — especially its children — first. Louisiana's families truly are better because of his leadership," Edwards said in a news release.