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Former Governor Vilsack’s Granddaughter Dies of Sudden Illness

Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack stands with her husband U.S. agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack before announcing she has formally joined the race to represent Iowa's newly constructed 4th Congressional District during a rally with supporters, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, in Ames, Iowa. Republican U.S. Rep Steve King has already announced he'll run in the district. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Former Iowa Governor Tom and First Lady Christie Vilsack’s granddaughter passed away unexpectedly from a sudden illness, according to a family spokesman.

Ella Vilsack, the daughter of Vilsack’s son Jess and wife Kate, became ill and died in the hospital Thursday night.

(Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly cited the cause of death as influenza.)