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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Enron's Lay Dies at the Age of 64

HOUSTON -- Enron founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, has died of a heart attack in Colorado. He was 64.

Lay, who lived in Houston, frequently vacationed in Colorado. He faced life in prison, and was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 23.

Nicknamed "Kenny Boy" by U.S. President George W. Bush, Lay led Enron's meteoric rise from a staid natural gas pipeline company formed by a 1985 merger to an energy and trading conglomerate that reached No. 7 on the Fortune 500 in 2000 and claimed $101 billion in annual revenues.

He was convicted May 25 along with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling of defrauding investors and employees by repeatedly lying about Enron's financial strength in the months before the company plummeted into bankruptcy protection in December 2001. Lay was also convicted in a separate non-jury trial of bank fraud and making false statements to banks, charges related to his personal finances.

When Lay and Skilling went on trial in U.S. District Court Jan. 30, it had been expected that Lay, who enjoyed great popularity in Houston as chairman of the energy company, might be able to charm the jury. But during his testimony, Lay ended up coming across as irritable and combative.

He also sounded arrogant, defending his extravagant lifestyle and spending.