AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has lauded former Gov. Mark White as a public servant who "devoted his life to making our state even better, particularly when it came to educating our children."

White died Saturday in Houston at the age of 77. The Democrat was governor from 1983 to 1987.

Abbott said he got to know White as a young lawyer in Houston, and that White's impact on Texas "will not soon be forgotten."

White's wife, Linda Gale White, and his son Andrew White confirmed his death.

White championed public education reform that included the landmark no-pass, no play policy for Texas high school athletes. He also pushed through a $4 billion tax hike for schools and highways.