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Rod Blonien, a Capitol fixture for years as Deukmejian administration official and later as a major lobbyist for gambling and horse racing interests, was found dead in his home Tuesday, the apparent victim of a heart attack. He was 65.

Angela Schiele, a long-time associate in Blonien's lobbying firm, said Blonien's son, Jarhett, found him in a chair at his home after he failed to come to his office near the Capitol. His wife, Noreen, was out of town on business at the time.

Blonien worked for former Gov. George Deukmejian at the Department of Justice and then segued into a prominent role in Deukmejian's gubernatorial administration before setting up his lobbying practice in 1987.

Survivors include not only his wife, but four children -- Ryan, Jessica, Molly and Jarhett -- and 11 grandchildren.

A rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a funeral Mass at the cathedral at 10 a.m. Friday.

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to correct Blonien's age. He was 65, not 55. Updated at 12:35 p.m. March 14, 2012.


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