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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 September 2006, 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK
JFK assassination survivor dies
Nellie Connally, left, in a car in 1963 with President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy before the president was assassinated
Mrs Connally, left, in the car with the Kennedys in 1963
The last surviving passenger in the limousine in which US President John F Kennedy was assassinated has died.

Nellie Connally, wife of a former governor of the state of Texas, died at her home in Austin on Saturday morning, a family friend said.

Mrs Connally described the fateful drive in a book published in 2003.

She says that just before the shot that killed Kennedy, she turned to him to say: "Mr President, you certainly can't say Dallas doesn't love you."

Mrs Connally's husband John, who was wounded by one of the shots, died in 1993.

The only other passenger was First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who died of cancer in 1994.

'Texas icon'

Mrs Connally's death at 87 was a surprise, as she seemed in good health, said Julian Read, former press secretary for her husband when he was Texas governor.

The current Texas Governor, Rick Perry, called her the "epitome of graciousness" and said before the assassination catapulted her into the national spotlight, she had been "an icon of Texas".

Nellie Connally in 2003
I'll never forget it [the assassination]... It was so quick and so short, so potent
Nellie Connally in a 2003 interview

Mrs Connally authored From Love Field: Our Final Hours with President John F Kennedy in 2003, after rediscovering pages of handwritten notes taken down shortly after the assassination.

In the book, Mrs Connally insisted her husband had been struck by a bullet separate from the two which hit Kennedy - an assertion which contradicted the findings of the commission that investigated the assassination and fuelled conspiracy theorists.

"I'll never forget it," Mrs Connally said of the assassination in an interview with Associated Press in 2003.

"It was so quick and so short, so potent."

She said a lasting memory was of a bouquet of roses in the car, spattered with blood.

Mrs Connally is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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